Arms and the Imagination: Essays on War, Politics, and Anglophone Culture

Arms and the Imagination: Essays on War, Politics, and Anglophone Culture

by Robert C. Gordon

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From the time of John Milton to that of William Blake, the literature of Britain absorbed the impact of two major military developments. In the early modern era, the military revolution strove to establish permanent armies under state discipline and, in England, the resistance to this development exhibited in the controversy over standing armies. In this penetrating and highly original study, Gordon demonstrates that military debate, encouraged by Britain's semi-secure insular situation, had a remarkable impact on the British imagination and its narratives. Affected were structure and closure; character evaluation; heroic and mock-heroic styles; attitudes toward love and marriage; and the roles of locality and environment in the shaping of the national and personal character. More remarkable still, these effects signaled the emergence of a civilian consciousness that still influences our literary preference and expectations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780761838371
Publisher: Hamilton Books
Publication date: 08/04/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 390
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Robert C. Gordon was born in Melbourne, Australia and raised in the United States. After serving in World War II he earned his doctorate in English Literature at Harvard, and went on to teach at the University of Oregon and San Jose State University. He has been a Fulbright scholar, a John Hay fellow, and a reviewer and editorial consultant for a variety of publishers and journals. After the publication of Under Which King?: A Study of Sir Walter Scott's Fiction, he began to explore the relations between military and literary history in a series of papers, reviews, and articles that led to Arms and the Imagination. He now lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Illustration Credits Part 2 Acknowledgements Part 3 Author's Introduction Chapter 4 Soldiers and the Dream of Control Chapter 5 John Milton's War in Heaven Chapter 6 King, Warrior, Poet: The Theatre of Corneille and Racine Chapter 7 Orrery, Dryden, and the Unachieved Hero Chapter 8 Jonathan Swift and the Science of War Chapter 9 Calliope among the Civilians: Pope's Mock-heroic England Chapter 10 Cincinnatus Recalled Chapter 11 Central Intelligence and Social Disorder: Henry Fielding's Theatre of Violence Chapter 12 Heroism, Civilian and Military: The Grandison-Shandy Antithesis Chapter 13 Wordsworth and the Roots of Power Chapter 14 Scott and the Taming of the Sword Chapter 15 Apocalypse Improvised: The Prophecies of William Black Part 16 Conclusions Political, Military, and Literary Part 17 Index

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