The FrenchRevolution and
the Napoleonic Wars
We have already seen from the case of Louis XIV that official
censorship, by itself, is insufficient to prevent the flow of subversive
ideas, especially from outside. In the Age of the Enlightenment, the
very existence of a rigorous censorship system in France was used
as a further focus of criticism of the ancien régime. In England, the
press may have been comparatively free to criticize, and thus
became a nuisance and an irritant to government; but it did provide
an outlet for dissenting views, the
‘This is a dark story…’ Clara Reeve, The Old English Baron (1778) Sinister Histories is the first book to offer a detailed exploration of the Gothic’s response to Enlightenment historiography. It uncovers hitherto neglected relationships between fiction and prominent works of eighteenth-century history, locating the Gothic novel in a range of new interdisciplinary contexts. Drawing on ideas from literary studies, history, politics, and philosophy, Sinister Histories demonstrates the extent to which historical works influenced and shaped the development of Gothic fiction from the 1760s to the early nineteenth century. In moving from canonical historians and novelists, such as David Hume, Edmund Burke and Ann Radcliffe, to less familiar figures, such as Paul M. Rapin de Thoyras, Clara Reeve and Sophia Lee, this innovative study shows that while Enlightenment historians emphasised the organic and the teleological, Gothic writers looked instead at events and characters which challenged such orderly methods. Through a series of detailed readings of texts from The Castle of Otranto (1764) to Maria, or The Wrongs of Woman (1798), Sinister Histories offers an alternative account of the Gothic’s development and a sustained revaluation of the creative legacies of the French Revolution. This book is aimed at students and scholars with interests in the Gothic, the eighteenth century, historiography, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and gender studies.
This article offers a survey of the recently discovered scrapbooks collated over a number of decades by the Yorkshirewoman Dorothy Richardson (1748–1819). The large set of thirty-five volumes presents an important collection of press cuttings relating to the history and consequences of the French Revolution, and also contains ‘historical and miscellaneous’ material of a more eclectic nature. I argue that the texts significantly improve our understanding of Dorothy Richardson’s position as a reader, writer and researcher working in the North of England at the turn of the nineteenth century. Furthermore, her set of albums raises important questions about the relationship between commonplacing and scrapbooking practices, and the capacity of such textual curatorship to function as a form of both political engagement and autobiographical expression.
This book offers a full account of the role played by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English Republican ideas in eighteenth-century France. Challenging some of the dominant accounts of the Republican tradition, it revises conventional understandings of what Republicanism meant in both Britain and France during the eighteenth century, offering a distinctive trajectory as regards ancient and modern constructions and highlighting variety rather than homogeneity within the tradition. The book thus offers a new perspective on both the legacy of the English Republican tradition and the origins and thought of the French Revolution. It centres around a series of case studies that focus on a number of colourful and influential characters including John Toland, Viscount Bolingbroke, John Wilkes, and the Comte de Mirabeau.
Carlyle regarded the Reformation as a seminal event in the history of modern
Europe, the starting point of an ongoing stage in human development. Reformation
Protestantism gave birth to a more general and pervasive spirit of ‘reformation’
that Carlyle identified with the moral destiny of all individuals and
communities. These qualities were epitomized by heroic figures such as Luther
and Cromwell but they were also embedded in cultures that responded productively
to the ongoing challenge of reformation. Having traced the history of the ethos
of reformation through English Puritanism and in the commitment to
transformative action or ‘work’ that gave rise to Britains emergence as a
leading industrial and imperial power, Carlyle brought this reinvention of the
Reformation to bear in his critique of the counter-reforming tendencies in early
Victorian society that he saw as posing a profound threat to it.