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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The post-war period following Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo saw an influential literary journalism dominated by the political polarities of Whig and Tory. All cultural judgements were affected, in an era when British imperial confidence and international prestige were at their height. The settlement of the Congress of Vienna, the strength of the British military, and colonial expansion across the globe drove economic power while also exerting broad influence on Romantic cultural forms. Romantic literary culture was, however, not unitary, but marked by ironic oppositions and contrasting stylistic idioms. Visionary idealism, imaginative subjectivity, and emotionalism were countered by demotic realism and a groundedness in new social and political forces and in the sensuous appeal of the material world. These oppositions are internalized in the major work of the leading poets and novelists, who seek to balance a representation of their own times with a transcendent vision of experience.

Keywords: Waterloo, Peterloo, journalism, imperialism, politics, novel, poetry, essay, lecture

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