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Italian Politics and Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Culture$
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Patricia Cove

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474447249

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474447249.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 15 June 2021

Romantic Italy and Restoration Politics: Romantic Poetry, Lady Morgan’s Italy and Mary Shelley’s Valperga

Romantic Italy and Restoration Politics: Romantic Poetry, Lady Morgan’s Italy and Mary Shelley’s Valperga

Chapter:
(p.29) Chapter 1 Romantic Italy and Restoration Politics: Romantic Poetry, Lady Morgan’s Italy and Mary Shelley’s Valperga
Source:
Italian Politics and Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Culture
Author(s):

Patricia Cove

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474447249.003.0002

Chapter 1 analyses Romantic-era responses to the Congress of Vienna and 1820-1 Italian uprisings, with attention to Lady Morgan’s travelogue Italy (1821) and Mary Shelley’s historical novel Valperga (1823). Although the tropes of decay and rebirth that pervade British Romantic poetry about Italy by William Wordsworth, Felicia Hemans, Lord Byron and P. B. Shelley tend to elide contemporary Italy in favour of a distant, idealised past and imminent but imagined future, Morgan and Shelley historicise Italy to demonstrate that outside influence and occupation shaped the peninsula, while Italy mediated the major European powers’ views of themselves and each other. Morgan and Shelley place Italy, a cluster of minor states, within a broad, European context of cultural appropriation, imperialist territorial expansion and failed diplomacy, to interrogate the discourse of Italian decay and offer, instead, Italy as a potential site of concrete resistance to the post-Napoleonic status quo.

Keywords:   Lady Morgan (Sydney Owenson), Italy, Mary Shelley, Valperga, Congress of Vienna, 1820-1 Italian Uprisings, William Wordsworth, Felicia Hemans, Lord Byron, P. B. Shelley

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