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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores notions of England and Englishness in the Romantic period, in particular the awareness evident in key literary texts of the complexities attendant on patriotic feeling. The chapter takes its cue from Byron, considering the moment in Don Juan when the protagonist arrives in England in relation to the poet’s conflicted sense of personal and national identity. The approach is informed by two decades of critical debate over the national and global implications of ‘English Romantic literature’, but acknowledges the tendency for the question of Englishness to be overlooked in more devolutionary studies. In order to explore the topic in more detail, the chapter pursues the representation of England and Englishness in three key texts of the period—Austen’s Emma, Cowper’s The Task, and Wordsworth’s ‘Sonnets dedicated to Liberty’—and suggests that in each, expressions of amor patriae (love of country) take the form of a critique as much as a celebration.

Keywords: England, Englishness, Britishness, London, archipelagic, local, national identity, patriotic feeling, national epic

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