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Organising PoetryThe Coleridge Circle, 1790-1798$
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David Fairer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296163

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296163.001.0001

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‘Look homeward Angel now’: Prospects and Fears in 1798

‘Look homeward Angel now’: Prospects and Fears in 1798

(p.285) 12 ‘Look homeward Angel now’: Prospects and Fears in 1798
Organising Poetry

David Fairer (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

During the invasion crisis of the spring of 1798 Britain's ‘one common life’ was under threat. Pamphlets instructed the populace on how to organise themselves to confront both revolution abroad and potential insurrection at home. This chapter explores the subtle politics of looking ‘homeward’ at this time. Coleridge's ‘Fears in Solitude’ is read in the context of Sheridan's House of Commons speech of 20 April, when the opposition orator finally gave his support (but only conditionally) to the government. It argues that Coleridge's poem (dated 20 April) is a response to Sheridan's rallying cry for a pragmatic national unity of interest during the crisis, but without abandoning the cause of reform. The link to Sheridan supports a more tactical and robust reading of the politics of ‘Fears in Solitude’, and highlights the national dimension of several themes that have run through the book.

Keywords:   invasion, Coleridge, fears, Sheridan, Bowles, French, Napoleon, home, Habeas Corpus, nation

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