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Counterfactual Romanticism$
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Damian Walford Davies

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781784991418

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526107077

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John Thelwall: a counterfactual ghost story

John Thelwall: a counterfactual ghost story

Chapter:
(p.202) 7 John Thelwall: a counterfactual ghost story
Source:
Counterfactual Romanticism
Author(s):

Judith Thompson

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526107077.00013

Deploying a creative-critical mode, this chapter prompts a debate as to the quantum and nature of the imaginative investment informing all critical engagements with the literary past. The chapter’s larger context is the biography of John Thelwall that the author is preparing; offering an inhabitation of the counterfactual in which the spectral figures prominently, the chapter details the archival lacunae and absences that prompt the counterfactual imagination. The critic-biographer embraces counterfactual speculation as a tool through which to (re)construct a literary-political life and to understand Thelwall’s own self-conscious acts of indirection and ventriloquism in a body of transgressive poetry related to a taboo-haunted family drama of 1816.

Keywords:   Romantic counterfactualism, Counterfactual Romanticism, John Thelwall, Thelwallian counterfactualism, counterfactual ghost story, family drama, theatrical ventriloquism

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