'What is,' 'What Was' and 'What Might Be': Reactionary metamorphosis of postwar acknowledgement in romanticism


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This graduate thesis explores the implications of reactions to the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars upon perceived self and gender roles in the Romantic period as seen in William Wordsworth's The Prelude, Lord's Byron's Canto III of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Charlotte Smith's The Old Manor House and Jane Austen's Persuasion. Reactions to wartime manifest in nostalgic visions of past and present in which the male poets' dwell and which the female novelists' criticize. Interaction between past and present realities are viewed through Jean Baudrillard's theory of simulacrum in order to connect the authors' displayed perceptions of reality and track a progression from imagined realities manifesting postwar, as displayed by Wordsworth and Byron, to the recognition of these realities, as displayed by Smith, and finally to a transition away from the past and towards a renewed future, as displayed by Austen.