Many of the writers from 1819, argues James Chandler, were acutely aware not only of their writing's place in history, but also of its place as history—a realization of a literary "spirit of the age" that resonates strongly with the current "return to history" in literary studies. Chandler explores the ties between Romantic and contemporary historicism and offers a series of cases of his own built around key texts from 1819.
"1819? At first sight, it might not seem a 'hot date'; but as James Chandler argues in his powerful book, it would be a mistake to overlook a year of such exceptional political conflagration and literary pyrotechnics in British history. Chandler's study is a wide-ranging, enormously ambitious, densely packed, closely argued work."—John Brewer, New Republic
"The book's largest argument, and the source of its considerable revelations, is that late twentieth-century practices of cultural history-writing have their roots in the peculiar Romantic historicism born in post-Waterloo Britain."—Jon Klancher, Times Literary Supplement
"A monumental work of scholarship."—Terry Eagleton, The Independent