Napoleon and English Romanticism
Napoleon Bonaparte occupied a central place in the consciousness of many British writers of the Romantic period. He was a profound shaping influence on their thinking and writing, and a powerful symbolic and mythic figure whom they used to legitimize and discredit a wide range of political and aesthetic positions. In this first ever full-length study of Romantic writers' obsession with Napoleon, Simon Bainbridge focuses on the writings of the Lake poets Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey, and of Byron and Hazlitt. Combining detailed analyses of specific texts with broader historical and theoretical approaches, and illustrating his argument with the visual evidence of contemporary cartoons, Bainbridge shows how Romantic writers constructed, appropriated and contested different Napoleons as a crucial part of their sustained and partisan engagement in the political and cultural debates of the day.
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