The exhilarating news of the French Revolution was the political spark for the literary explosion of English Romanticism, prompting authors to re-conceive what was literarily and metaphysically possible. Their new visions of the world were challenged by developments in France, however, as the idealism of the Revolution suffered through terror, blood, and ultimately dictatorship. This panel would explore how the authors in English Romanticism shaped and reshaped their visions to accommodate the news from France. The traditional scholarly view of most English Romantic authors is not flattering: they are seen as either hippie cheerleaders of republicanism willfully ignoring the subversion of their ideals, or as liberals turned conservatives in their old age. This panel is significant, because recent scholarship on the French Revolution has brought the historical understanding of the event closer to the revisioning of the English Romantics, possibly leading to a reinterpretation of their visions as especially clear-eyed and prescient.
This panel seeks papers on the evolving visions of the French Revolution among English Romantic writers. Submissions can choose literary, historical, or theoretical frameworks, exploring how particular authors reacted and re-reacted to the newest news from France, or how dialectics of events, reports, and their trace produce particular structures that reach us in these particular textual forms. Please send 250 word abstracts to Tat Sang So, firstname.lastname@example.org.