Imagining Albion: Romantic Paradigms of Nationalism and Anti-Nationalisms Open Access
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This dissertation argues that while there exists a heightened sense of national consciousness in the Romantic era, it does not translate into universal support for the hegemonic category of "Englishness." Attitudes towards nationalism are politically determined. There is a conservative vision--best seen in Burke's work--that beautifies both the physical and the ideological space of the nation. There is also a skeptical vision of nation that the writers on the Romantic left embrace. Strategies for producing this skeptical vision are not unilateral. Price universalizes by encouraging Englishmen to consider national history as part of world history. Godwin demonstrates how the nation is deployed as a tool for social control. Byron cosmopolitanizes the social body. Shelley turns away from historical specificity and utopianizes. However, there exists one fundamental commonality: each writer suggests that to embrace England moves society further away from the possibility of social justice.