Essays in Romanticism

British Romanticism and the Post-Napoleonic South: Writing Restoration Transnationally

Essays in Romanticism (2017), 24, (2), 105–124.

Abstract

This essay expands current paradigms for understanding the function of the South in British Romantic-era writings by concentrating on representations of Southern Europe as a cultural-political category in the years between Napoleon’s first abdication in 1814 and the early 1820s. In 1814-15 Southey, Coleridge and Wordsworth responded to the challenge of restoration by returning to the Iberian campaign and the repercussions of events in Mediterranean Europe during the Napoleonic wars. At the same time, “liberal” writers from Byron and Percy Shelley to Felicia Hemans and Thomas Moore turned to the South to reinvigorate ideas of revolution and posit restoration as a new departure. In different but related ways, both first- and second-generation authors invested in the South as a site for defining the present and modernity of Europe and its current process of restoration – in other words, as a place where the continent could be imagined, defined and invented anew.

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Author details

Saglia, Diego