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    Late Romanticism and the End of Politics: Byron, Mary Shelley, and the Last Men

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    ISBN: 9781009289207
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    AuthorHavard, John (Binghamton University, Sta
    Pub Date13/04/2023
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    This study invites researchers of Romantic literature and literary and political culture to consider how this period's imaginings of the end of the world shaped thinking about politics and political change. Its highly original arguments on this current theme will interest students of political thought, affect theory, and ecocriticism.

    In the late Romantic age, demands for political change converged with thinking about the end of the world. This book examines writings by Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and their circle that imagined the end, from poems by Byron that pictured fallen empires, sinking islands, and dying stars to the making and unmaking of populations in Frankenstein and The Last Man. These works intersected with and enclosed reflections upon brewing political changes. By imagining political dynasties, slavery, parliament, and English law reaching an end, writers challenged liberal visions of the political future that viewed the basis of governance as permanently settled. The prospect of volcanic eruptions and biblical deluges, meanwhile, pointed towards new political worlds, forged in the ruins of this one. These visions of coming to an end acquire added resonance in our own time, as political and planetary end-times converge once again.