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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The opening decades of the nineteenth century, which we know as the Romantic period, was also the great age of periodical literature, at the centre of which were the Edinburgh Review, the Quarterly Review, and later the Westminster Review, each offering a politically inflected conspectus of current knowledge and creative literature that was often aggressively argumentative and assumed greater authority than both author and reader. And the big Reviews were by no means the only places where the Romantic reader could find clever, scathing, though often well-informed and well-argued reviews, which contributed to the high degree of literary self-consciousness we associate with Romantic literature. This chapter looks at the phenomenon of critical reviewing in the Romantic period, at the mythologies that grew up around it as an institution, and at some of the ramifications of its critical severity for the evolution of creative literature.

Keywords: magazines, Reviews, Romantic poetry, periodical reviewing, critical judgement, Whig, Tory, knowledge

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