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English literature in the period of the Great Reform Bill.

Clarke, John Alistair; (1992) English literature in the period of the Great Reform Bill. Doctoral thesis (M.Phil.), University College London. Green open access


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This thesis is arranged in four chapters. Chapter One describes some of the political, intellectual and literary characteristics of the age of the Great Reform Bill (roughly the period from 1820 to 1835). It studies in particular how the rapidly changing political situation, in part influenced by utilitarian thinking, absorbed interest away from imaginative literature, and how this resulted in new strains and tendencies in the literature of the period. The scene thus having been set, subsequent chapters consider the influence of the refer mate on some specific contemporary writers, who have been chosen for the ways in which they illustrate some of the themes identified in Chapter One. Chapter Two focusses on Thomas Love Peacock, and considers his view that artists should become socially involved, and shows now his own novels - which fictionalise contemporary political debate - themselves embody this view. It concludes with an analysis of Peacock's novel The Misfortunes Of Elphin, a political novel in which the quietism of the Lakeland writers is criticised. Chapter Three compares the views of two writers - S.T. Coleridge and the poet Richard Hengist Horne - on what should be the proper relationship between writers and the emerging modern state, and shows the extent to which those views were conditioned by contemporary political events. The fourth and last chapter is a study of the works of the Sheffield poet Ebenezer Elliott, perhaps the most popular poet of the 1830's. His Corn Law Rhymes and other poems are and extreme example of poetry being employed to further specific political objectives. The chapter also demonstrates how and why Elliott's contemporaries regarded him as the key literary figure of the 1830's.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: M.Phil.
Title: English literature in the period of the Great Reform Bill.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by Proquest
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108255
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