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Romantic Imperialism


  • Page extent: 268 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.38 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 820.9/007
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: PR468.I49 M35 1998
  • LC Subject headings:
    • English literature--19th century--History and criticism
    • Imperialism in literature
    • Great Britain--Colonies--History--19th century
    • Great Britain--Colonies--History--18th century
    • Literature and society--Great Britain

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521586047 | ISBN-10: 0521586046)

The years between 1790 and 1830 saw over a hundred and fifty million people brought under British imperial control, and one of the most momentous outbursts of British literary and artistic production, announcing a new world of social and individual traumas and possibilities. This book traces the emergence of new forms of imperialism and capitalism as part of a culture of modernisation in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and looks at the ways in which they were identified with and contested in Romanticism. Saree Makdisi argues that this process has to be understood in global terms, beyond the British and European viewpoint, and that developments in India, Africa, and the Arab world (up to and including our own time) enable us to understand more fully the texts and contexts of British Romanticism. New and original readings of texts by Wordsworth, Blake, Byron, Shelley, and Scott emerge in the course of this searching analysis of the cultural process of globalisation. Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 1998.

• Original reading of Romanticism in the context of themes from postcolonial studies: imperialism, capitalism, modernisation and globalisation • Unusual combination of historical and theoretical insights • First title in Cambridge Studies in Romanticism to appear in paperback, reflecting broader appeal in postcolonial studies


Preface and acknowledgements; 1. Introduction: universal empire; 2. Home imperial: Wordsworth's London and the spot of time; 3. Wordsworth and the image of nature; 4. Waverley and the cultural politics of dispossession; 5. Domesticating exoticism: transformations of Britain's Orient, 1785–1835; 6. Beyond the realm of dreams: Byron, Shelley and the East; 7. William Blake and the universal empire; 8. Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography.


'An original and brilliant interpretation of Romanticism which will have a significant impact on the way culture and imperialism are conceptualized. This invaluable contribution has the potential to alter our view of Romanticism, and speaks equally forcefully to scholars working in other fields, such as postcolonial theory, Victorian studies, cultural studies, literary theory, and materialist criticism.' Gauri Viswanathan, Columbia University

'A brilliant, impressive body of work.' Wordsworth Circle

'Makdisi's timely study offers a powerfully lucid theoretical strategy for placing Romanticism within the frame of imperialism.' Romanticism

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