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Early Romanticism and Religious Dissent


  • Page extent: 288 pages
  • Size: 229 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.43 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521153225)

Religious diversity and ferment characterize the period that gave rise to Romanticism in England. It is generally known that many individuals who contributed to the new literatures of the late eighteenth century came from Dissenting backgrounds, but we nonetheless often underestimate the full significance of nonconformist beliefs and practices during this period. Daniel White provides a clear and useful introduction to Dissenting communities, focusing on Anna Barbauld and her familial network of heterodox 'liberal' Dissenters whose religious, literary, educational, political, and economic activities shaped the public culture of early Romanticism in England. He goes on to analyze the roles of nonconformity within the lives and writings of William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey, offering a Dissenting genealogy of the Romantic movement.

• Examines religious culture and its expression in Romantic literature • Compares texts across genres: poems, sermons, pamphlets • Explains clearly the religious beliefs and groups most important in the Romantic period


Introduction; 1. 'True principles of religion and liberty': liberal Dissent and the Warrington Academy; 2. Anna Barbauld and devotional tastes: extempore, particular, experimental; 3. The 'Joineriana': Barbauld, the Aikin family circle, and the Dissenting public sphere; 4. Godwinian scenes and popular politics: Godwin, Wollstonecraft, and the legacies of Dissent; 5. 'Properer for a Sermon': Coleridgean ministries; 6. 'A Saracenic mosque, not a Quaker meeting-house': Southey's Thalaba, Islam, and religious nonconformity; Conclusion.


Review of the hardback: '…White intricately and skilfully demonstrates, informs Romantic creativity in ways we are still learning to appreciate.' BARS Bulletin and Review

Review of the hardback: 'Professor White's scholarly book is welcome evidence of the healthy state of studies of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century English Dissent ... a contribution to Unitarian history which will certainly be of interest to readers.' Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society

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