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Poetry, Politics and Pictures

Culture and Identity in Europe, 1840–1914

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Edited By Ingrid Hanson, Jack Rhoden and Erin Snyder

This collection offers new perspectives on the connections between politics, identity and representation in art and poetry in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain and Europe. Contributions explore questions such as the following: what was the effect of the reciprocity of political, religious and artistic influence in nineteenth-century Britain and Europe? How were key political moments or movements influenced by or influential on literary and artistic form? How did the styles and forms of the past shape the political expressions of the nineteenth-century present? By what means did politically inflected art and literature shape the emerging construction of national, class or religious identities in the nineteenth century?
Ranging across not only Britain but also France, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Spain and Italy, the essays draw on different discourses and art forms. They all utilise concepts of cultural materialism to shape an understanding of the contingent relationships between national and international public discourse and identity, political change and cultural production as well as the reproduction, translation, influence and dissemination of both politics and culture in art and literature.

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II Images and National Identity

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Timothy Baycroft Images of France and the French: Political Identities in the Nineteenth Century Political conf lict in nineteenth-century Europe took many forms, from full-scale wars and armed uprisings to peaceful opposition in print, through public meetings or word of mouth. It involved activists and theorists, states, would-be states, revolutionaries, reformers and defenders of the status quo. While much of the competition between the various ideologies, regimes and discourses was overt, direct and open, symbolism came to play an increas- ingly significant role in the mobilization of support, and the conf licts over images and their meanings raged long and hot, though often undetected below the surface. Symbolic images played a particularly prominent role in the rise of nationalism and within the nationalist conf licts across Europe throughout the century. As populations themselves gained in importance in determining the outcome of power struggles, so the battle for hearts and minds was waged, and the importance of symbolic associations grew. Nations are most often understood and defined in terms of the images used to represent them. Some of these images are in themselves abstract and purely symbolic, such as a national f lag, while others are drawn from a range of historical, cultural and geographical points of reference, and come to acquire ‘national’ meaning through association. Thus individual events become key moments in national history, individual foods become national dishes, outfits become national costumes, songs become national anthems, and territory becomes a national homeland. The process by which individual symbols become...

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