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By P. Mortensen

Throughout the 1790s and 1800s, cultural critics turned confident that Britain used to be being 'inundated' by means of pernicious literary translations imported from the eu Continent. British Romanticism and Continental affects discusses Romantic writers' advanced and ambivalent responses to this threatening literary invasion. faced with international texts that appeared either beautiful and repulsive, Mortensen argues, Romantic writers similar to Wordsworth and Coleridge publicly distanced themselves from eu sensationalism, at the same time they assimilated and revised its conventions of their personal writing.

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Likewise, Preston further undercuts his own grandiose imagery when he simultaneously suggests that the sluggish English public, far from putting up The Rhetoric of Romantic Europhobia 35 a heroic resistance against their invaders, have only too willingly let themselves be overrun. In the first half of his essay, Preston presents evidence supporting his thesis that ‘the style, the characters and tendency’ of ‘the more modern German poets’ are fundamentally corrupt, and that the popularity of ‘the high Dutch muse’ amounts to nothing less than a full-scale ‘revolution in literature’.

England did see a remarkable increase in the number of foreign translations published during the 1790s, and many of these hailed from ‘Germany’, although one must bear in mind that no such nation state existed at the time. Many of these texts did in fact attain considerable popularity, and given the liberal political slant of German Sturm und Drang writing it is not wholly unreasonable to assume that these texts may have stirred some readers to voice their discontent. Yet a closer look at the first paragraph also makes abundantly clear that Preston has already made a dizzying leap from fact to fantasy.

And thus the most potent drugs, and even mortal poisons, may become inoperative’ (p. 355). Alongside with his use of poison, however, Preston also introduces the imagery of contagion and disease, and this new set of tropes, although he sometimes seems to use ‘poison’ and ‘disease’ interchangeably, draws his argument in a different direction: Far from leading us to controul [sic] our passions, and moderate our feelings, the German drama is calculated to operate effects directly contrary; and the perusal of such writings must be peculiarly injurious to young persons of both sexes.

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