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Eighteen Hundred and Eleven
Poetry, Protest and Economic Crisis

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Romanticism

  • Date Published: December 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316638859


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About the Authors
  • In 1811 England was on the brink of economic collapse and revolution. The veteran poet and campaigner Anna Letitia Barbauld published a prophecy of the British nation reduced to ruins by its refusal to end the interminable war with France, titled Eighteen Hundred and Eleven. Combining ground-breaking historical research with incisive textual analysis, this new study dispels the myth surrounding the hostile reception of the poem and takes a striking episode in Romantic-era culture as the basis for exploring poetry as a medium of political protest. Clery examines the issues at stake, from the nature of patriotism to the threat to public credit, and throws new light on the views and activities of a wide range of writers, including radical, loyalist and dissenting journalists, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Southey, and Barbauld herself. Putting a woman writer at the centre of the enquiry opens up a revised perspective on the politics of Romanticism.

    • Provides new insights into the economic crisis of 1811 by placing a woman writer at the centre of enquiry into literature and politics
    • Addresses the current interest in the culture of dissent in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
    • Gives a wide-ranging account of the political, cultural and economic contexts of the period
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    • Winner, 2018 Rose Mary Crawshay Prize, British Academy

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Clery's subject is Anna Letitia Barbauld's poem 'Eighteen Hundred and Eleven', published in February 1812 as an attack on the British government's policies, particularly, according to Clery, the Orders in Council of 1807 limiting trade. … Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.' J. Rosenblum, Choice

    'E. J. Clery aims definitively to put to rest the myth about Barbauld's sensitivity to criticism; to rehabilitate her image; and to offer a new interpretation of the poem as a response to specific economic problems and part of a successful effort to force the government to address them … this illuminating case study is able to give a detailed account of the year 1811 as well as of its namesake poem.' H. J. Jackson, The Times Literary Supplement

    'The book is a game-changer not only in its account of the strategies and distinctiveness of Barbauld's poem but also in painstakingly elucidating how a poem actually changes political-cultural realities … It will appeal to scholars interested in Barbauld and/or women writers; in the Dissenting community and, especially the Aikin-Barbauld circle; in connections between economic and poetic debates and practices in the Romantic era; in the literary-political culture of Britain from 1808–12, including the impact of periodical reviews … Clery's Eighteen Hundred and Eleven is a bold book that is true to the spirit of Barbauld's poem in not only showing how but also believing that a literary work engages times of crisis with an efficacy that acknowledges the power of public fantasies and reasoned debate in shaping daily reality.' Julie Carlson, University of California, Santa Barbara

    'E. J. Clery's passionate and well-researched study on Eighteen Hundred and Eleven is the work that Anna Barbauld's long neglected 334-line poem deserves … Clery writes with conviction and verve; this is a work whose tone is con brio tracing the contexts of politics and economy in the years surrounding the writing of the poem, but its aims are more wide-ranging than this ambitious re-evaluation of one work might suggest. Clery makes a case for rereading women Romantic poets' work as something other than 'narratives of defeat and disappointment, compromise and constraint' as well as recognizing that they wrote in 'collaboration and dialogue' with men … E. J. Clery's excellent book is highly recommended.' Lisa Vargo, The BARS Review

    'It is written like a detective novel, and certainly has the pace of one … a quiet triumph of staging and presentation, and deeply original not only for its specific argument, but in its narrative method … A model of how transformational a feminist resistance to the commonplaces of 'women's history' (the usual narrative of silencing) can be.' The Rose Mary Crawshay Prize Committee

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316638859
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the puzzle and the myth
    Part I. The Making of Eighteen Hundred and Eleven:
    1. Economic warfare
    2. Writing for the enemy
    3. Commercial dissent
    4. Stoic patriotism
    5. The prophet motive
    6. Ruin: doing the policy in different voices
    7. Lady credit
    Part II. What Happened Next:
    8. Publication to vindication: a chronology
    9. The summer of 1812 and after

  • Author

    E. J. Clery, University of Southampton
    E. J. Clery is professor of English Literature at the University of Southampton. Her publications include The Rise of Supernatural Fiction, 1762–1800 (Cambridge, 1995), Women's Gothic from Clara Reeve to Mary Shelley (2000), The Feminization Debate in Eighteenth-Century England (2004) and Jane Austen: The Banker's Daughter (2017). In 2013 she was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Major Fellowship for the project 'Romantic-Era Women Writers and Economic Debate'. She lectures and broadcasts on eighteenth-century and Romantic literature, book history and the cultural history of economics.


    • Winner, 2018 Rose Mary Crawshay Prize, British Academy

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