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British Poetry and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic WarsVisions of Conflict$
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Simon Bainbridge

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198187585

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187585.001.0001

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Walter Scott’s Picturesque Romance of War, 1805–1814

Walter Scott’s Picturesque Romance of War, 1805–1814

(p.120) CHAPTER FIVE Walter Scott’s Picturesque Romance of War, 1805–1814
British Poetry and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars

Simon Bainbridge (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Walter Scott's picturesque romance of war. Scott was the bestselling and most popular poet of the Napoleonic wars and his metrical romances played a crucial role in mediating conflict to a nation at war. His phenomenally successful tales of ‘Border chivalry’ transformed the imagining of war, presenting it as heroic, shaped by the codes of romance, and framed by the conventions of the picturesque. Scott's poetry were about 16th-century wars but became popular during the Napoleonic wars. With his verse, the 18th-century emphasis on war's horrors gives way to the 19th-century stress on its glory. In addressing his readers as ‘Warriors’ in his last extended verse romance in 1814, Scott completed his remasculinisation of the reader and of poetry more generally contributing to the wartime revalidation of poetry as a manly pursuit for both writer and reader.

Keywords:   Walter Scott, Napoleonic wars, imagining of war, poetry, romance, picturesque, remasculinisation

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