This is the first book to examine the literature of the Romantic period as a conscious attempt to effect the religious transformation of society.
This is the first book to examine the literature of the Romantic period as a conscious attempt to effect the religious transformation of society. Robert Ryan argues that the political quarrel that preoccupied England during the Romantic period was in large part an argument about the religious character of the nation, and that the Romantics became active and conspicuous participants in this public debate. Where critics have traditionally viewed the Romantics as creative metaphysicians articulating private visions of a transcendent order in detachment from actual social conflict, Ryan shows instead that their religious prescriptions were formulated in response to specific historical and social circumstances. This book shows how the careers of Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, Keats, and the Shelleys are radically reconfigured when viewed in the context of the period's passionate debate on religion, politics and society.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1 (12)
1 "A sect of dissenters" 13 (30)
2 Blake's orthodoxy 43 (37)
3 Nature's priest 80 (39)
4 The ironies of belief 119(33)
5 The politics of Greek religion 152(27)
6 The Christian monster 179(14)
7 The unknown God 193(31)
Conclusion: Romantic reformation 224(11)