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Radical Voices, Radical WaysArticulating and Disseminating Radicalism in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Britain$
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Laurent Curelly and Nigel Smith

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781526106193

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526106193.001.0001

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‘The insane enthusiasm of the time’: remembering the regicides in eighteenth-and nineteenth-century Britain and North America

‘The insane enthusiasm of the time’: remembering the regicides in eighteenth-and nineteenth-century Britain and North America

Chapter:
(p.229) 10 ‘The insane enthusiasm of the time’: remembering the regicides in eighteenth-and nineteenth-century Britain and North America
Source:
Radical Voices, Radical Ways
Author(s):

Edward Vallance

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526106193.003.0011

Edward Vallance studies the representation of three English regicides, John Dixwell, William Goffe and Edward Whalley, in early nineteenth-century British fiction via the treatment made of them in late eighteenth-century histories and biographies. Vallance raises the question of what provoked this flurry of literary interest in the three regicides and suggests that the main explanation is to be found in the fit between the story of Dixwell, Goffe and Whalley and the Romantic sensibility. Their story seemed to combine elements traditionally associated with Romantic aesthetic. Vallance then explores the impact of historians’ accounts of the three regicides on the Romantic imagination. Sympathizing with the fate of the radicals did not entail endorsing either their political or religious views, or the act of regicide itself. But by presenting the regicide as an act of madness, writers of fiction ultimately diminished its political threat.

Keywords:   regicide, New England, Romantic imagination, fiction, historical reconstruction

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