Presences that Disturb: Models of Romantic Identity in the Literature and Culture of the 1790s

Damian Walford Davies

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Presences that Disturb examines the historical and cultural contexts that determined the Romantic self in a revolutionary decade. It explores the ways in which canonical writers such as Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats, and significant political figures such as John Thelwall imaginatively identified with certain emblematic presences – from the Dark Age hermit-king Tewdrig to the Polish patriot general Kosciusko and the Welsh jacobin bard Edward Williams – as instructive models and haunting second selves. Addressing recent new historicist critiques, this highly original analysis of Romantic identity discusses both the subtle ways in which these crucial but neglected presences inhabit literary texts and their broader cultural impact. Damian Walford Davies offers a wholly new perspective on Romanticism by rehistoricizing canonical works in relation to marginalized Welsh figures, narratives and locations. Wales and the ideologically troubling space of the Wye Valley are revealed as sites in which Romanticism came to terms with history. Drawing on a wide range of archival material, Presences that Disturb also enhances our understanding of how a number of cultural voices and discourses, from antiquarianism and Bardism to topographical description, county history and the tour, determined the shape of canonical Romanticism.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherGwasg Prifysgol Cymru | University of Wales Press
Number of pages384
ISBN (Print)978-0708317389, 0708317383
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2002


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