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Gothic Romance

British Romanticism and Continental Influences by P. Mortensen

By P. Mortensen

In the course of the 1790s and 1800s, cultural critics turned confident that Britain was once being "inundated" via pernicious literary translations imported from the eu Continent. British Romanticism and Continental affects discusses Romantic writers' advanced and ambivalent responses to this threatening literary invasion. faced with overseas texts that appeared either beautiful and repulsive, Mortensen argues, Romantic writers akin to Wordsworth and Coleridge publicly distanced themselves from ecu sensationalism, at the same time they assimilated and revised its conventions of their personal writing.

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10, 12). At this stage in his argument, Preston seems primarily concerned that German texts, since they typically represent spontaneous and strong-willed characters acting in the heat of passion, may cause British readers to sacrifice their chastity and engage in illicit sexual behaviour, as ‘young persons, of a sanguine temperament, and serious disposition, [ . . ] are filled with a sort of amorous mysticism, which perverts the devotional language and enthusiasm, and applies them to the commerce of the sexes’ (p.

Xvi). Aside from hyperbolic rhetoric and turgid prose, this article, like virtually everything else published in the later Anti-Jacobin, also contains an ominous and thinly veiled threat of terror. The overwhelmingly important task, the editors argue, is not merely to uncover plots against established authority, but also to actively enforce the hegemony of the status quo, and in doing so one should not shrink from using extreme measures such as Pitt’s government’s blatant infringement of civil rights.

Their dramatic exhibitions of vice are monsters redeemed by no virtue; they carry their malignity and guilt to an excess unexampled in the history of our species, and only to be found in what fancy may have feigned in the diabolical nature (p. 359). Nationalist self-congratulation alternating with alarmist fear-mongering; masculinist posturing admixed with self-feminizing professions of helplessness: such are the constituent parts of the Europhobic imaginary, and Preston surprises only by the thoroughness with which he all but exhausts the discourse’s rhetorical repertoire.

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