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By Yoon Sun Lee

Nationalism and irony are of the main major advancements of the Romantic interval, but they've got now not been associated intensive prior to now. This examine indicates how Romantic nationalism in Britain explored irony's power as a robust resource of civic solidarity. The period's prime conservative voices, self-consciously non-English figures equivalent to Edmund Burke, Walter Scott, and Thomas Carlyle, accentuated instead of disguised the anomalous personality of Britain's identification, constitution, and historical past. Their irony publicly fractured whereas upholding sentimental fictions of nationwide wholeness. Britain's politics of deference, its reverence for culture, and its party of productiveness all grew to become not just ambitions of irony yet events for its improvement as a patriotic establishment. This research bargains a unique view of either Romantic irony and Romantic nationalism: irony is tested as an outgrowth of industrial society and as a strength that holds jointly heart and outer edge, superiors and subordinates, within the tradition of nationalism.

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Burke’s Reflections and Carlyle’s Past and Present, to take only two examples, present themselves as aiming to bring about change in the nation. But they try to do so, in part, by describing and quoting documents and actions from the past. The past is used to describe the present; the present is supposedly described so as to bring about a future. The statement of what was the case shades off into a programmatic vision of what should be the case. There is no uniform scheme of temporality in their writings that can be isolated from their pragmatic agendas, even when that agenda is carefully concealed, as in Scott’s case.

166 At its outermost limit, it imagines a nation that reposes its faith in no single class or political doctrine but rather in a constant habit of agile, deterritorialized movement between competing feelings and knowledges.  Edmund Burke’s Pretexts for Politic Bodies That Edmund Burke achieved his political ends through subtle, surreptitious, largely rhetorical means was a belief well established even in his own lifetime. An anonymous political cartoon from the Regency Crisis of ‒  shows Burke, along with Charles James Fox and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, trying to break into the house of the “Treasury,” defended by Pitt from an upstairs window.

They remove the possibility of regarding the public sphere as a place regulated exclusively by either nature or artifice. 7 There are in fact two ways in which such figurative language can appear unexceptionable: it can appear to emanate from violent emotion, or it can appear purely conventional. ”10 Countless readers of Burke’s Reflections, seeking to correlate such figures to vehemence of emotion, were bewildered by the apparent lack of cause, the radical improbability of Burke’s violent tropes. Was it, in fact, genuine emotion, a simulacrum of feeling, or something else entirely?

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