By Jacqueline M. Labbe
Why are there so few "happily ever afters" within the Romantic-period verse romance? Why accomplish that many poets make the most of the romance and its components to such devastating impact? Why is gender so frequently the 1st sufferer? The Romantic Paradox investigates the superiority and loss of life within the poetic romances of the Della Cruscans, Coleridge, Keats, Mary Robinson, Felicia Hemans, Letitia Landon, and Byron, and posits that knowing the romance and its violent traits is essential to figuring out Romanticism itself.
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Why are there so few "happily ever afters" within the Romantic-period verse romance? Why accomplish that many poets make the most of the romance and its elements to such devastating impact? Why is gender so frequently the 1st sufferer? The Romantic Paradox investigates the superiority and loss of life within the poetic romances of the Della Cruscans, Coleridge, Keats, Mary Robinson, Felicia Hemans, Letitia Landon, and Byron, and posits that knowing the romance and its violent traits is key to figuring out Romanticism itself.
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Additional info for The Romantic Paradox: Love, Violence and the Uses of Romance, 1760-1830
5 The romance subordinated bodily responses to the lasting attractions of soulmates, and readers understood that pants and sighs, perhaps the pressure of the hand, functioned only as choreography, culminating in the chaste embrace that signified the meeting of like with like rather than solely of lip with lip. Delia Cruscan poetry uses the available vocabulary of romance; as I will discuss later in this chapter, the exchange collected in The British Album follows with little deviation the plot conventions familiar to its readers, with the signal difference that it is entirely epistolary.
De Saint-Pelaie (or Palaye), but extensively annotated by Dobson. The two volumes demonstrate the more conflicted, fluid approach to the romance that will characterise the 1790s; Dobson's indecision regarding the overall benefit of chivalry to society finds its analogue in, in Duff's words, the 'fundamentally unstable' 'language of romance and chivalry' (133; Duff's emphasis). Even as Reeve's progress through the land of Romance is marked by her certainty of its beauties, Dobson's contemporaneous volumes mapping that same land betray a greater unease with its parameters - and its influence.
15 Hortensius begins by invoking the language of gentlemen: he wants to settle their 'dispute' through a kind of verbal duel. Sophronia's contribution, however, opens the possibility that the usual gender hierarchy will not be observed in this text, furthered by Euphrasia's subsequent metaphorical arming. As the first paragraphs progress, it emerges that Euphrasia has compared romances to epic poetry, which Hortensius cannot abide, insisting on an inherent literary inequality; when Sophronia finds she is unable to 'ward off his attack' she 'engage [s] her honour' that Euphrasia can 'give Hortensius full satisfaction' (3).