Robert Southey and British Romanticism in the context of empire

Bolton, C., 2003. Robert Southey and British Romanticism in the context of empire. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This thesis engages with texts from the British Romantic period (1780-1830) and particularly with the poetry of Robert Southey (1774-1843) in order to position his writing within its original context of journalism, political commentary and travel narratives, during a period of large-scale exploration and colonial settlement. While critical studies have often examined Romantic poetry in the context of the social and political conditions of Britain and Europe, this thesis argues that because there was a massive increase of empire during this period, events in the wider geo-political arena need to be taken into account. My aim is therefore to restore Southey to the canon in an historicised manner that demonstrates the relationship of Romantic writing to imperial politics.

The particular focus of my study is the use that Southey made of foreign cultures in his writing in order to define what he considered to be correct British values, thereby contributing to an early form of nationalism. It considers particularly the poetry Southey wrote that reflects his responses to foreign cultures and colonial politics during the years between 1794 and 1810. It also examines Southey's journalism - where he discussed contemporary political events within his own country and abroad - in order to provide a historical context for his poetic representations. Each chapter of my thesis is organised around a geographical or thematic structure but also conforms to a chronological development through Southey's life and literary career. It thereby delineates a narrative of progression from political radicalism to conservatism that encompasses his developing aspirations for the British Empire.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Bolton, C.
Date: 2003
ISBN: 9781369316698
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 30 Sep 2020 12:42
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2023 15:44

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