Romanticism, Economics and the Question of 'culture'

Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of English and Fellow of Selwyn College Philip Connell
Oxford University Press, USA

The Romantic age in Britain formed one of the most celebrated--and heterogeneous--moments in literary history, but it also witnessed the rise of "political economy" as the pre-eminent nineteenth-century.

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science of society. Romanticism, Economics and the Question of 'Culture' investigates this historical conjunction, and reassesses the idea that the Romantic defense of spiritual and humanistic "culture" developed as a reaction to the individualistic, philistine values of the "dismal science." Drawing on a wide range of source material, the book combines the methods of literary scholarship and intellectual history. It addresses the changing political identifications of familiar literary figures such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, but also illuminates the wider political and intellectual life of this period. Romanticism, Economics and the Question of 'Culture' situates canonical Romantic writers within a nuanced, and highly detailed ideological context, while challenging our inherited understanding of the Romantic tradition itself as the social conscience of nineteenth-century capitalism.