Skip to main content
  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: May 2009



Like the other volumes of the new Cambridge History of English Literature, this one offers a collaborative account for one of the recognized periods of a rich and complex literary history – one far richer and more complex, indeed, than the compromise category of ‘English Literature’ can capture. Like the other volumes, it builds on the extensive scholarship that has been undertaken in the field since the publication of the first History of English Literature by Cambridge early in the twentieth century. Like the others, too, it is responsive to major shifts in critical frameworks and historiographical assumptions over recent decades. Finally, like the others, and in keeping with the Press’s own directive for the new History as a whole, it is organized and executed in a way that ‘reflects the particular characteristics of the period covered’. In that last consideration, logically enough, lies a key to this volume’s special place and character among the other volumes.

By comparison with periods traditionally defined by century demarcations, or by the reigns of monarchs, the Romantic age has often been marked off in ways that are at once less arbitrary and more so. Some of its characteristic boundaries – 1789, 1783 and 1776, on the early side, and 1832 on the far side – are dates primarily of political significance, years associated with rebellion and revolution on the one hand, and with reform on the other.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

The Cambridge History of English Romantic Literature
  • Online ISBN: 9781139055970
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *
Arendt, Hannah, On Revolution (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965)
Arnold, Matthew, Works, ed. Russell, George W. E., 15 vols. (London: Macmillan, 1903–4), vol. VI.
Ballads, Lyrical, in Prose Works of William Wordsworth, ed. Owen, W. J. B. and Smyser, Jane Worthington, 3 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), vol. I.
Barbauld, Anna Laetitia, Eighteen Hundred and Eleven (London: J. Johnson, 1812).
Becker, Carl, The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932).
Burke, Edmund, Reflections on the Revolution in France, ed. O’Brien, Conor Cruise (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968).
Burke, Kenneth, A Grammar of Motives (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1945).
Butler, Marilyn, Rebels, Romantics and Reactionaries (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982).
Carlyle, Thomas, Works, 30 vols. (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1896–1901), vol. IV
Chandler, James, England in 1819: The Politics of Literary Culture and the Case of Romantic Historicism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998).
Democritus, Heraclito, [Edward Pettit], The Vision of Purgatory (London: Printed by T. N. for Henry Brome, 1680).
Hardy, Thomas, Complete Poetical Works, ed. Hynes, Samuel, 5 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982–95), vol. 1.
Höpfl, H. M., describes the early nineteenthcentury awareness of ‘a plague of -isms’, and he distinguishes this moment from the other great surge of -isms, in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, in terms not dissimilar from those I have used here – ‘Isms’, British Journal of Political Science 13:1 (January 1983).
Koselleck, Reinhart, ‘“Neuzeit”: Remarks on the Semantics of the Modern Concepts of Movement’, in Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, trans. Tribe, Keith, (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1985).
Mill, J. S., ‘The Spirit of the Age’, in Mill’s Essays on Literature and Society, ed. Schneewind, J. B. (New York: Collier, 1965)
Polanyi, Karl, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of our Time (New York: Rinehart & Company, 1944).
Shelley, Percy Bysshe, Shelley’s Poetry and Prose, ed. Reiman, Donald and Fraistat, Neil, 2nd edn (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002).
Scott, WalterSir, The Journal of Sir Walter Scott, ed. Douglas, David, 2 vols. (New York: Burt Franklin, 1970), vol. I.
Whitehead, A. N., Science and the Modern World (New York: Macmillan, 1925).
Woolf, Virginia, ‘Gas at Abbotsford’, in Collected Essays (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1925).