Academic journal article Wordsworth Circle

From the Preface

Academic journal article Wordsworth Circle

From the Preface

Article excerpt

From the Preface: Michael Wiley, Romantic Migrations: In 2008, the word "migration" described the terror-drive diaspora from Darfur, the poverty-driven movement of fruit pickers, the post-Katrina departure from New Orleans, the transnational aesthetics of expatriate artists, even the seasonal patterns of Canadian geese and butterflies. It describes the prehistoric spread of hominids from Africa to Eurasia, the Hebrew exodus from Egypt, the Puritan crossing to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the flight of young Somalian women from compulsory genital mutilation. It describes emigrations and immigrations, the movements of the living. But in 1754, as Nicholas Roe comments, "emigrant," in its modern sense, "was quite a new word" (92). Within only forty years, though, it was part of the public vocabulary. In 1793, Charlotte Smith used it to title her poem about French refugees. And in the mid-1790s, Thomas Poole speculated on the aesthetic and social gains that literary "emigrators" might achieve by leaving England (Sandiford 97-99).

In a letter published in 1789, the naturalist Gilbert White argued to a skeptic, who, along with many contemporaries, believed exclusively in avian hibernation, that bird "migration certainly does subsist in some places" (131). …

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