Anger, Revolution, & Romanticism

(Cambridge University Press, 2005)

The Romantic age was one of anger and its consequences: revolution and reaction, terror and war. Andrew M. Stauffer explores the changing place of anger in the literature and culture of the period, as English men and women rethought their relationship to the aggressive passions in the wake of the French Revolution. Drawing on diverse fields and discourses such as aesthetics, politics, medicine and the law and tracing the classical legacy the Romantics inherited, Stauffer charts the period’s struggle to define the relationship of anger to justice and the creative self. In their poetry and prose, Romantic authors including Blake, Coleridge, Godwin, Shelley and Byron negotiate the meanings of indignation and rage amidst a clamourous debate over the place of anger in art and in civil society. This innovative book has much to contribute to the understanding of Romantic literature and the cultural history of the emotions.


Anger, Revolution, and Romanticism takes our understanding of the period forward impressively — illuminating, in particular, the poetry of Byron and Shelley. It is an important and thought-provoking book, on a subject which has been inexplicably neglected. Future scholars will undoubtedly be keen to build on its solid foundations and subtle insights.”

Lucy Newlyn, in Essays in Criticism

“Written in a clear and precise style, Anger, Revolution, and Romanticism is characterized by a rare combination of innovation and accessibility….[Stauffer’s] approach enables a number of fascinating readings of the changing roles of anger in Romantic poetry. Anger, Revolution, and Romanticism rewards a general readership interested in the history of emotions, and it is invaluable for researchers interested in the ways in which changing conceptions of anger transformed both the content and form of Romantic poetry.”

Robert Mitchell, in European Romantic Review