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Palgrave Macmillan

The Ecology of British Romantic Conservatism, 1790-1837

ISBN 9781137354198
Publication Date October 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and the Cultures of Print

Analyzing Romantic conservative critiques of modernity found in literature, philosophy, natural history, and agricultural periodicals, this book finds a common theme in the 'intergenerational imagination.' The conservative intergenerational imagination cultivates a counter-narrative to the optimistic telos of progress and the punctual, liberal individual by contending that current generations receive land and culture as a gift from previous generations, and that the current generation bears the responsibility to preserve that gift for future generations. First locating the intergenerational imagination in Burke's Reflections and Wordsworth's epitaphic poetry, which chronicle the consequences of modernity and plead for intergenerational continuity in land use, the book then explores regionalist texts of the Romantic period, including Thomas Bewick's natural histories, Maria Edgeworth's Irish tales, William Cobbett's agricultural periodicals, and John Clare's poetry.

Katey Castellano is Associate Professor of English at James Madison University in Virginia, USA. She is the author of articles published in SubStance, Partial Answers, Romanticism on the Net, and Papers on Language and Literature. Currently, she is working on a book about Romantic period commons.

Introduction: Conservatism and the Intergenerational Imagination
1. Intergenerational Imagination in Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France
2. 'Their graves are green': Conservation in William Wordsworth's Epitaphic Ballads
3. The Politics of the Miniature in Thomas Bewick's History of British Birds
4. Conservation or Catastrophe: Reflexive Regionalism in Maria Edgeworth's Irish Tales
5. Subsistence as Resistance: William Cobbett's Food Politics
6. Anthropomorphism and the Critique of Liberal Rights in John Clare's Enclosure Elegies


"Castellano makes an important and original contribution to the growing number of environmental readings of the Romantic period. Her argument has the potential to reshape and even redefine the terms of the discussion, forcing readers to rethink easy assumptions about the political orientations of poets such as William Wordsworth and John Clare and offering new insights into artists such as Thomas Bewick and Maria Edgeworth. Her provocative and well-researched analysis is one that future scholars will be forced to reckon with." - Bridget M. Keegan, Creighton University, USA
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