The French Revolution Debate in English Literature and Culture

By Lisa Plummer Crafton | Go to book overview

and negative representations of French events, especially the Bastille and October Days crowd scenes, positing a "representational trajectory" that begins with depictions of actual female participants whose seductive tendencies are rendered as documentary, then moves to an exaggerated, more abstract, allegorical representation, and comes full circle after 1793 when British caricaturists were motivated to return to the portrayal of actual women. Throughout, Kromm associates the political representations with the rising gender stereotypes of madness in women. Although imputations of madness were common in the debate, Kromm focuses on gendered constructions of madness, especially as used by Rowlandson and not common in visual stereotyped representations until the 1780s for reasons related to the social and political constructions of gender roles.

All of the essays contribute to the ongoing exchange of ideas about and interpretation of the relationship between English intellectual culture and the historical phenomenon of the Revolution. Thus, the debate in England of the 1790s continues to enliven the intellectual, literary, and critical debates of the 1990s and serves as a rich focal center for evolving ideas about rhetoric, politics, religion, art and literature.


NOTES
1.
Abrams essay, "Revolutionary Romanticism 1790-1990," appears in a collection of essays from the April 1990 conference at Bucknell University. Wordsworth in Context, ed. Pauline Fletcher and John Murphy (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1992), 19-34.
2.
Raymond Williams, Culture and Society: 1780-1950 ( New York: Columbia University Press, 1960), 31.
3.
See Marilyn Butler, Burke, Paine, Godwin, and the Revolution Controversy ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).
4.
The four collections of essays are Wordsworth in Context, cited in note 1 from the 1990 Bucknell University conference "Revolutionary Romanticism 1790-1990"; Romantic Revolutions: Criticism and Theory, ed. Kenneth Johnston et al. ( Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), from the 1988 Indiana Symposium on Romanticism; Revolution and English Romanticism: Politics and Rhetoric, ed. Keith Hanley and Raman Selden ( London: Harvester Wheatsheaf and New York: St. Martin's, 1990), from the 1989 Lancaster University conference on "Revolution and English Romanticism"; and Revolution in Writing: British Literary Responses to the French Revolution, ed. Kelvin Everest (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1991), papers taken from five different bicentennial conferences in England in 1989.
5.
See the "Function of Criticism at the Present Time," where Arnold characterizes the Revolution as "the most animating event in history." TheComplete Prose Works of Matthew Arnold

-xv-

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The French Revolution Debate in English Literature and Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions to the Study of World Literature ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Notes xv
  • Chronology xvii
  • Burke's Perception of Richard Price 1
  • Notes 21
  • Religion and Politics in the Revolution Debate: Burke, Wollstonecraft, Paine 27
  • Notes 38
  • The "Ancient Voices" of Blake's The French Revolution 41
  • Notes 53
  • Arguing Benevolence: Wordsworth, Godwin, and the 1790s 59
  • Notes 76
  • "Great Burke," Thomas Carlyle, and the French Revolution 83
  • Notes 103
  • Politics of the Episteme: The Collapse of the Discourse of General Nature and the Reaction to the French Revolution 107
  • Notes 118
  • Representations of Revolutionary Women in Political Caricature 123
  • Notes 131
  • Postscript: The French Revolution and Romanticism 137
  • Select Bibliography 145
  • Index 149
  • About the Contributors 155
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