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Theorizing Strangers: A Very Long Romanticism

Theorizing Strangers: A Very Long Romanticism

Chapter:
(p.16) Chapter One Theorizing Strangers: A Very Long Romanticism
Source:
Romanticism and the Question of the Stranger
Author(s):
David Simpson
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226922362.003.0002

William Wordsworth’s The Prelude provides a glimpse of the experience of the stranger. It talks of his trip to France in 1790 where the hospitality he received made him feel very much at home. By late 1792, however, things turned sour when Wordsworth travelled back to England by way of Paris. It was the “September Massacres” that soiled and, to him, brutalized France itself. These feelings of belonging and rejection constitute the stranger. This chapter explores the stranger political and the stranger rhetorical, focusing on France’s political trifles and how it affected the reception towards the stranger—both foreign and local. It recalls the classic-pagan and the Judeo-Christian as cultures where the stranger emerged long before 1789. Works such as Euripedes’s The Bacchae and Sophocles’s Oedipus at Colonus play in part a vindication of prudent behaviour by hosts towards guests.

Keywords:   stranger rhetorical, stranger political, William Wordsworth, The Prelude, September Massacres, The Bacchae, Oedipus at Colonus

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