By Richard Cronin
1798 is an important date in literary heritage: in that 12 months the Lyrical Ballads have been released anonymously by means of Joseph Cottle, the Bristol bookseller. yet it is a quantity now not in regards to the Lyrical Ballads , yet approximately their yr. it really is an try and re-create and look at the literary tradition of 1798, the tradition on which Wordsworth and Coleridge determined to make their 'experiment'. it's a publication within which Wordsworth and Coleridge vie for recognition, as they did in 1798, with many different writers, together with Schleiermacher, John Thelwall, Mary Hays, the Abbe Barruel, Walter Savage Landor, Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Malthus, Joanna Baillie, George Canning, Robert Sothey and the Reverend T.J. Mathias. The chapters of this ebook interact to outline a unmarried historic second that marked the start of romanticism in England.
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I offer them as numerical readings that signal the need for other kinds of readings of other kinds of evidence. By calling them 'readings', I wish to emphasize that - even with the ESTC - counts of this kind are a very inexact science. As I've indicated, they are limited by selfdescription: the keywords 'system' and 'essay' must be in the title or subtitles. In addition, ESTC contains and finds more than one copy or edition of the same title; should they be treated as extras, and cut out of the counts, or kept as evidence of the pervasiveness or influence of particular texts?
The vicious reception accorded the Vindication during the 1790s thus provides Hays with a historically-specific purpose for her work as that decade The Year of the System 27 ends: 1798 becomes the moment to find new ways to 'manag[e)' the 'prejudices of mankind, to make new and unexpected truths palatable to common minds'. This strategy of inclusion seeks to improve upon the past whether by finding a better population principle, writing proper poetry or convincing more readers. And, as with Malthus and Wordsworth, Hays gestures toward the 'common' by embedding systems as parts within adventurously incomplete wholes.
What is more, the scene of temptation is emphatically a scene of reading. 39 Wollstonecraft's 'fatal book', which suggests the tree of 'knowledge' and its dubious effect on female minds,4o has become an instrument of evil. A comparable scene of diabolic instruction occurs in a novel by Charles Lucas, a miscellaneous writer and divine, who in 1801 publishes The Infernal Quixote. A Tale of the Day. By now, the Memoirs may be said to have evolved into a distinct narratological form. The dedication, to William Pitt, merges into an extraordinary parody of Satan in Pandemonium, here urging his rebel angels to an assault on that last bastion of civil and religious liberty, the British Isles.
1798: The Year of the Lyrical Ballads by Richard Cronin