Academic journal article Wordsworth Circle

The Language of Migration Took on New Forms and Connotations during the Romantic Period as Well

Academic journal article Wordsworth Circle

The Language of Migration Took on New Forms and Connotations during the Romantic Period as Well

Article excerpt

The language of migration took on new forms and connotations during the Romantic period as well. A migrant could still be conventionally a wanderer, traveler, peddler, perhaps a teacher, actor, musician, student, someone seeking adventure or riches, moving about freely, like Wordsworth's Wanderer, indeed like most of the writers at one time or another during the Romantic period. Byron even invented a new migrant category, the "self-exiled," like Childe Harold. On the other hand, over-turning the idealization of or indifference to the homeless poor, the new penal laws criminalized them as vagrants, itinerants, and beggars as Quentin Bailey wrote in Wordsworth's Vagrants: Police, Prisons, and Poetry in the 1790 (2011). Revolutions and war, especially the Napoleonic conquests produced masses of refugees from political conflict, the wounded, impoverished discharged soldiers and expatriates, seeking safety, asylum, even citizenship. Those displaced by religious or racial persecution are part of a diaspora, a large and complicated term that has evolved and revived many times: to the ancient Greeks and Romans, it meant simply the dispersal of whole communities to colonize and extend their reach. In biblical terms, diaspora was and remains an exile, sometimes a permanent displacement, the communities, real and imagined (as Benedict Anderson called them), retaining their languages, identity, loyalties, religious belief, and cultural practices, and the dream of return. Modern diasporas, Toby Benis wrote in Romantic Diasporas: French Emigres, British Convicts, and Jews (Palgrave, 2009) in two different forms began with the French who escaped to London from the Revolution at the same time as British criminals were being transported to Australia and the Scottish Martyrs to Botany Bay. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.