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Representations of the Gypsy in the Romantic Period$
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Sarah Houghton-Walker

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198719472

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719472.001.0001

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Literary Contexts

Literary Contexts

The Gypsy on the Page in the Romantic Period

(p.47) 2 Literary Contexts
Representations of the Gypsy in the Romantic Period

Sarah Houghton-Walker

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines a selection of texts in order to establish a specifically literary context for Romantic-period representations of gypsies. The first part of the chapter looks back to the earlier eighteenth century, placing Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones alongside The Life and Adventures of Bampfylde-Moore Carew, the Noted Devonshire Stroler and Dog-Stealer. The second part turns to the 1780s and 1790s, comparing extracts from two very different types of prose, Heinrich Grellmann’s Dissertation on the Gypsies and the radical John Thelwall’s Peripatetic. The chapter suggests that, heavily indebted to Grellmann to the point of plagiarism, Thelwall’s passage better than Grellmann’s ostensibly scientific account reflects the progress of attitudes and the way in which the gypsy offers opportunities to writers to articulate anxieties beyond those associated purely with the categorization and comprehension of the gypsies themselves.

Keywords:   Heinrich Grellmann, John Thelwall, Bampfylde-Moore Carew, Tom Jones, Henry Fielding, taxonomy, radicalism

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