Cambridge.University.Press.The.Crisis.of.Literature.in.the.1790s.Print.Culture.and.the.Public.Sphere.Nov.1999.pdf

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Cambridge.University.Press.The.Crisis.of.Literature.in.the.1790s.Print.Culture.and.the.Public.Sphere.Nov.1999. This page intentionally left blankTHE CRISIS OF LITERATUREIN THE 1790sThis book offers an original study of the debates which arosein the 1790s about the nature and social role of literature.Paul Keen shows how these debates were situated at theintersection of the French Revolution and a more gradual rev-olution in information and literacy reflecting the aspirationsof the professional classes in eighteenth-century England. Heshows these movements converging in hostility to a new classof readers, whom critics saw as dangerously subject to theeffects of seditious writings or the vagaries of literary fashion.The first part of the book concentrates on the dominant argu-ments about the role of literature and the status of theauthor; the second shifts its focus to the debates aboutworking-class activists, radical women authors and the Orien-talists and examines the growth of a Romantic ideologywithin this context of political and cultural turmoil.PAUL KEENis Assistant Professor in the English Departmentat Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. His articlesand reviews have appeared in Mosaic, Irish University Review,British Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies, The WordsworthCircle, English Studies in Canada and Critical Mass.CAMBRIDGE STUDIES IN ROMANTICISM36THE CRISIS OF LITERATURE IN THE 1790sCAMBRIDGE STUDIES IN ROMANTICISMGeneral editorsProfessor Marilyn Butler Professor James ChandlerUniversity of Oxford University of ChicagoEditorial boardJohn Barrell, University of YorkPaul Hamilton, University of LondonMary Jacobus, Cornell UniversityKenneth Johnston, Indiana UniversityAlan Liu, University of California, Santa BarbaraJerome McGann, University of VirginiaDavid Simpson, University of California, DavisThis series aims to foster the best new work in one of the most challeng-ing fields within English literary studies. From the early 1780stotheearly 1830s a formidable array of talented men and women took to liter-ary composition, not just in poetry, which some of them famously trans-formed, but in many modes of writing. The expansion of publishingcreated new opportunities for writers, and the political stakes of whatthey wrote were raised again by what Wordsworth called those ‘greatnational events’ that were ‘almost daily taking place’: the French Revol-ution, the Napoleonic and American wars, urbanization, industrializ-ation, religious revival, an expanded empire abroad and the reformmovement at home. This was an enormous ambition, even when it pre-tended otherwise. The relations between science, philosophy, religionand literature were reworked in texts such as Frankenstein and BiographiaLiteraria; gender relations in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and DonJuan; journalism by Cobbett and Hazlitt; peotic form, content and styleby the Lake School and the Cockney School. Outside Shakespeare stud-ies, probably no body of writing has produced such a wealth of responseor done so much to shape the responses of modern criticism. This indeedis the period that saw the emergence of those notions of ‘literature’ andof literary history, especially national literary history, on which modernscholarship in English has been founded.The categories produced by Romanticism have also been challenged byrecent historicist arguments. The task of the series is to engage bothwith a challenging corpus of Romantic writings and with the changingfield of criticism they have helped to shape. As with other literary seriespublished by Cambridge, this one will represent the work of bothyounger and more established scholars, on either side of the Atlantic andelsewhere.For a complete list of titles published see end of bookTHE CRISIS OFLITERATURE IN THE 1790sPrint Culture and the Public SpherePAUL KEEN         The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, United Kingdom  The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 2RU, UK40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011-4211, USA477 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne, VIC 3207, AustraliaRuiz de Alarcón 13, 28014 Madrid, SpainDock House, The Waterfront, Cape Town 8001, South Africahttp://www.cambridge.orgFirst published in printed format ISBN 0-521-65325-8 hardbackISBN 0-511-03317-6 eBookPaul Keen 20041999(Adobe Reader)©For my father and mother, and for my wife,Cynthia, with love.In my introduction to the Third Part, feeling the importanceof my subject in its various branches, I asserted that, ‘LITERA-TURE, well or ill conducted,IS THE GREAT ENGINEby which, Iamfully persuaded,ALL CIVILIZED STATESmust ultimately be supportedor overthrown.’ I am now more and more deeply impressed withthis truth, if we consider the nature, variety and extent of theword, Literature.T. J. Mathias, The Pursuits of LiteratureI went out drinking with Thomas Paine,He said all revolutions are not the same.Billy Bragg, ‘North Sea Bubble’ . Atlantic andelsewhere.For a complete list of titles published see end of book THE CRISIS OFLITERATURE IN THE 1790sPrint Culture and the Public SpherePAUL. page intentionally left blank THE CRISIS OF LITERATUREIN THE 1790sThis book offers an original study of the debates which arosein the 1790s about the nature
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