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Real and Imagined Women in British Romanticism

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Gaura Shankar Narayan

Real and Imagined Women in British Romanticism uses feminist ideology and deconstructive criticism to reconstruct the cultural context embedded in Romantic canonical texts. To achieve this end, the book undertakes a close textual study of these texts and places them in the intellectual context of Mary Wollstonecraft’s critique of culture. As a result of intellectual contextualizing as well as theoretical applications, the Romantic imagination, as represented by William Wordsworth and John Keats, emerges as the place where gender division and gender certitude break down. This book intervenes in the traditional critical debates about the Romantic imagination to show that the Romantic imagination, as set forth in these texts, registers the vigorous cultural politics of gender and aesthetics that defined the 1790s and continued to exert influence for decades.

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R Introduction ......................................................................................................... 1 Chapter 1 Wordsworth, Keats, and the Possibility of the Female Voice.................... 11 Chapter 2 The Problem of Gender in Reason, Feeling, and Sentiment: Mary Wollstonecraft and Edmund Burke.................................................. 21 Chapter 3 The Problem of Gender in Beauty, Sublimity, and the Imagination: Mary Wollstonecraft and Edmund Burke.................................................. 47 Chapter 4 Gender and the Poet’s Identity in some of the Lyrical Ballads: Williams Wordsworth ........................................................ 73 Chapter 5 Gender and History in The Prelude: Williams Wordsworth....................... 99 Chapter 6 Gender and Imagination in “Lamia” and “La Belle Dame sans Merci”: John Keats ................................................................. 125 Endnotes...........................................................................................................159 Select Bibliography........................................................................................... 181 Index.................................................................................................................195

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