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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues on the basis of several constellations of writers that British Romanticism, far from being Europhobic, drew strength from direct contact with Continental sources. The term ‘romantic’ itself, as contrasted with ‘classical’, gained a new inflection through the Schlegel brothers’ works. In Weimar in 1804, Henry Crabb Robinson presented lectures on German aesthetics to Germaine de Staël, whose work then popularized the notion of aesthetic autonomy in Britain, paving the way for the reception of A. W. Schlegel’s Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature. Friedrich Schlegel’s Lectures on the History of Literature, meanwhile, informed a nationalist approach to literature through J. G. Lockhart’s translation. Italophile writers, by contrast, resisted this northern style of Romanticism. Not only Shelley and Leigh Hunt, but also Byron, who had contact with the Italian exile Ugo Foscolo, came to regard Dante as a model for political renovation after the Napoleonic Wars.

Keywords: constellation, Romantic, classical, Continent, aesthetic autonomy, nationalism, cosmopolitanism

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