Romantic Ideology Unmasked: The Mentally Constructed Tyrannies in Dramas of William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and Joanna Baillie

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University of Delaware Press, 1994 - Drama - 212 pages
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"Romantic drama is politically charged and ideologically based. The plays mediate economic issues, gender relations, class struggles, family dissolutions, political revolutions, and religious skepticism. By unmasking the embedded layers of ideology and revealing the various fictions that ideology perpetrates as truths, Romantic Ideology Unmasked reveals the mental processes on which romantic drama's temporal and spatial issues - both historical and social - rest. The meaning of the drama thus lies in the variety of tyrannies they symbolize, or inscribe. Readers actively participate in the process engendered by the plays: they unmask the ideology operating at their foundations by revealing the obvious and submerged constraints on mental freedom." "In William Wordsworth's The Borderers, political tyranny and the ideology of revolution, specifically spawned by the French in 1789, are privileged above the other embedded layers of tyrannies and historically based revolutions, including the Barons' Revolt of 1258 and the English Civil War. Both play and prose radically question the ideology that prompts the revolution-restoration cycle, a delusional and entrapping process." "Lord Byron's Manfred and Werner explore tyrannies engendered by familial and social conflicts as they criticize reforms instigated in Regency England. While Manfred confirms that it is not difficult to extirpate the curses and inheritances of the past once humankind is freed from the mental tyrannies it inflicts upon itself, Werner reveals the horrors of enslavement to class, name, race, and title - all inheritances humanly contrived to enslave others." "Religious and political tyranny are blatant in Percy Shelley's The Cenci and Prometheus Unbound. These plays also expose an ideology based on bifurcated thinking, uncontested and unchanged, which undermines any efforts at social and moral reform. The Cenci dramatically portrays an aristocratic family and an Italian Renaissance society enslaved in the tragedies produced by an ideology of dichotomous thinking. Prometheus Unbound offers a presentation of liberation from such an enslaving ideology." "Character rivalries and political intrigue in Joanna Baillie's Count Basil and De Monfort dramatize a study in early-nineteenth-century gender relations and female emancipation. Baillie's dramas question a mental structuration that accepts as absolute and fixed truth a gender relationship that exists oppositionally. The plays demonstrate the mental forms of oppression to which women were subjected and from which material forms of economic and physical constraints emanated." "Romantic writers transpose ideological struggles into dramatic and political terms, rendering mediations of the same collective mentality, the same social structure in different interpretive frames. In considering romantic drama as a collective and mental process, we liberate the interpretive possibilities the plays offer."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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William Wordsworths Borderers

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