The robbers and the police
British romantic drama and the Gothic treacheries of Coleridge’s Remorse
in European Gothic
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This chapter explores Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Remorse by focusing on Coleridge's response to, and assimilation of, the best-known and most controversial foreign text of Romantic England: Friedrich Schiller's early Sturm und Drang masterpiece Die Rauber. Coleridge's adaptation of The Robbers made the protorevolutionary motif of the wronged but virtuous son palatable, enjoyable and even commercially profitable for British theatrical culture during the years of the counter-revolutionary consolidation. Virtually all aspects of Remorse recapitulate the effects of German and Anglo-German robber and revenge drama. Remorse is set in a sixteenth-century Spain which is clearly a police state, not unlike the Regency Britain of Coleridge's own experience. One of the many features that link Remorse with the Gothic heritage in fiction and drama is Coleridge's play's obvious fascination with techniques of supervision, penalization and imprisonment.

European Gothic

A spirited exchange 1760-1960

Editor: Avril Horner

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