Exiles from European Revolutions: Refugees in Mid-Victorian England

Exiles from European Revolutions: Refugees in Mid-Victorian England

Exiles from European Revolutions: Refugees in Mid-Victorian England

Exiles from European Revolutions: Refugees in Mid-Victorian England

Synopsis

Studies on exile in the 19th century tend to be restricted to national histories. This volume is the first to offer a broader view by looking at French, Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Czech and German political refugees who fled to England after the European revolutions of 1848/49.

Excerpt

Sabine Freitag

The exile and emigration of political refugees demonstrate in exemplary manner the international dimension of the European revolutions in 1848/49. If it is true that a common European revolutionary culture existed, which maintained political convictions beyond national borders and interests, political exile is the place where this spectrum of shared political and social beliefs and common political experiences can best be examined. For reasons which will be mentioned below, no country other than England and no city other than London offers a better opportunity for analysing the European political exile after 1848/49. The aim of this book is to investigate, within the context of an international comparison, what has so far been treated only within specific national historiographies: the political exile of French, Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Czech and German refugees in England. Only within this context are we able to analysis not only the national pecularities of various exile communities but also their common ground and mutualities, and their interaction - whether active or theoretical - with the host country. The degree of difficulty in adapting to the new situation is of as much interest here as all the forms of political cooperation that existed between exiles from different European countries and between exiles and British organisations and politicians. And finally, the attitude of the host country towards the refugees will come into perspective as well as the refugees’ perception of the country which had granted them asylum. In short: this historical survey seeks to stimulate further discussion about ‘exclusion’ and ‘inclusion’ within the context of political asylum.

It is nothing new that the term ‘political exile’ is notoriously difficult to define. Who is entitled to be considered as a political refugee? Using Andreas Fahrmeir’s pragmatic compilation in this volume, the most common definitions are: people who flee punishment for the expression of political opinion or for political acts; further, those who fear discrimination or prosecution for their opinions without being political activists; then those who voluntarily leave the oppressive . . .

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