“A Possession for Eternity”: Thomas De Quincey’s Feeling for War

Book chapter


Champion, Michael and Stanyon, Miranda 2019. “A Possession for Eternity”: Thomas De Quincey’s Feeling for War. in: S. Downes, A. Lynch and K. O’Loughlin (ed.) Writing War in Britain and France, 1370-1854: A History of Emotions United Kingdom: Routledge. pp. 219 - 237
AuthorsChampion, Michael and Stanyon, Miranda
EditorsS. Downes, A. Lynch and K. O’Loughlin
Abstract

This chapter aims to suggest the deep classical history of Romantic feelings about war. It examines Thomas De Quincey’s feelings for war writing through his engagement with Thucydides. De Quincey drew on contemporary reception of Thucydides to set up and undermine contrasts between empirical, scientific, ordered, universal and detached history, and its converse: war writing which is subjective, rhetorical, disruptive, particular and overtly emotional. The complexity of the early modern reception of Thucydides is clear in method. The reception tradition could be understood as setting Thucydides the detached scientist against Thucydides the sublime, emotional artist. Thucydides was a name to conjure with in debates about historiographical form and style, the value of democracy and history, the connections between war and civilisation, and relationships between nations. De Quincey’s approach to anecdotes and cases responds to a complex Romanticera body of writing. Anecdote can be seen as a wayward genre, and it is often self-consciously digressive in De Quincey’s writings.

Page range219 - 237
Year2019
Book titleWriting War in Britain and France, 1370-1854: A History of Emotions
PublisherRoutledge
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
ISBN9781138219168
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429446245-13
Research GroupInstitute for Religion and Critical Inquiry
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/85w07/-a-possession-for-eternity-thomas-de-quincey-s-feeling-for-war

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