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Exiles, Émigrés and Expatriates in Romantic-Era Paris and London

29.57 Exiles, Émigrés and Expatriates in Romantic-Era Paris and London

Edited by: David Duff and Marc Porée

Volume: 29
Issue: 57
July 2019


David Duff , Marc Porée
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Rachel Rogers
“Relinquish[ing] All Former Connections”: British Radical Emigration to Early Republican Paris
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This article investigates British emigrant experience in early republican Paris by examining the associational culture forged in expatriate gatherings at White’s Hotel over the course of late 1792 and early 1793 and perpetuated during the collective persecution and incarceration that followed the outbreak of war. It argues that departures to Paris were prompted by the climate of repression in Britain, yet were also the result of other factors such as the commercial and editorial opportunities afforded British emigrants in the French capital, deep sympathy with French revolutionary politics and a broad sense of estrangement from British political culture. The article considers the centrality of first-hand witnessing and local political activism in shaping emigrants’ opinions of the Revolution and focuses on the crucial importance of collective action and solidarity between fellow emigrants once their continued presence in Paris began to be questioned. To regard the British emigrants as moderates, the article argues, is to drastically underestimate the degree of support they showed for radical initiatives in France, notably the drive towards greater popular involvement in law-making. Despite the diversity of political attitudes towards the ongoing Revolution harboured by British onlookers, many emigrants showed sustained commitment to the republican experiment during the years of emergency rule and shared a determination to correct the errors they believed were being disseminated by a hostile British press.

E.J. Clery
Mary Wollstonecraft: A Feminist Exile in Paris
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In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) and other writings, Mary Wollstonecraft described  the  state  of  Englishwomen  in  their  native  land  figuratively  as  that  of  a  slave,  an  outlaw and an exile. This view was shared by other women writers across the political spectrum in the 1790s, including Charlotte Smith and Frances Burney.  The  idea  of  women’s  dis-patriation by the laws of England provides a context for reconsidering Wollstonecraft’s twenty-seven  month  period  as  an  expatriate  in  revolutionary  France.  Three  specific  questions  are  addressed:  Why  did  she  go  to  Paris  in  December  1792?  Why did she decide to stay at the outbreak of war between Britain and France in February 1793? And why was she so resistant to the idea of leaving Paris and returning to London in early 1795? The trope of the feminist exile offers valuable guidance when exploring her motivations.  A distinctive set of priorities comes into focus, setting Wollstonecraft apart from her compatriots and fellow-radicals in the French capital at the time. Both the influence of working-class citoyennes on economic policy and the liberalisation  of  family  law  at  the  outset  of  the  Republic  made  a  profound  impression  on  her,  revealed most fully in her correspondence and in the unfinished novel The Wrongs of Woman; or, Maria (1798).

Philipp Hunnekuhl
Literary Transmission, Exile, and Oblivion: Gustav von Schlabrendorf Meets Henry Crabb Robinson
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Gustav von Schlabrendorf (1750-1824) grew up in Silesia and spent the second half of his life in Paris, where he became a hub in a far-reaching network of foreigners as well as French people. He witnessed and initially embraced the French Revolution, was imprisoned during the Terror and narrowly escaped the guillotine. Disillusioned with the course of the Revolution and disappointed in Napoleon, Schlabrendorf, still in Paris, published anonymously during the first decade of the nineteenth century a number of books and pamphlets against the Emperor-General. One of these, his Napoleon Buonaparte wie er leibt und lebt, und das französische Volk unter ihm (1806), was translated anonymously into English by Henry Crabb Robinson (1775-1867). Robinson was another hub in the same pan-European network to which Schlabrendorf belonged. Their shared network eventually enabled Schlabrendorf and Robinson to meet in person, in 1817. A closer look at the circumstances of this meeting reveals not only that Schlabrendorf and Robinson shared political and philosophical convictions, but also that Robinson undertook his transmission of Schlabrendorf’s work according to a set of criteria that place him at the vanguard of literary criticism at the time.

Christoph Bode
Georg Forster in Paris (1793/94)
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Georg (also known as George or Georges) Forster was 12 when his first book came out, a translation into English of Lomonosov’s Chronological Abridgement of the Russian History (1760), “continued to the present Time by the Translator.” He was 17 when, together with his father Johann Reinhold Forster, he translated de Bougainville’s Voyage autour du monde into English (1771). He was 18 when he accompanied Captain Cook on his second voyage to the South Seas, 22 when he published the most remarkable account of that voyage of exploration, A Voyage Round the World (1777). Forster – whose works, according to Friedrich Schlegel, “breathe the spirit of free progression” like nobody else’s – was not only one of the finest scientists and ethnographers of the age, whose concept of a holistic geography, integrating natural and social sciences, would deeply influence his most prominent student, Alexander von Humboldt, he was also a polyglot cosmopolitan of hybrid and fluid national and cultural identities – and a supporter of the French Revolution. In 1793, he travelled to Paris to ask for the admittance of the short-lived Republic of Mainz to the French Republic, only to die under miserable circumstances a few months later, not yet 40. This essay focuses on his final months (he died in Paris on 10 January 1794) and on his acquaintances there (Théroigne de Méricourt and Bernardin de St. Pierre, for instance), including his relations with other expatriates, German or English (e.g., Helen Maria Williams and Mary Wollstonecraft). Forster is presented here as an intellectual with no affiliations or loyalties to any linguistic, ethnic or national community – a citizen of the world, obliged only to live a life in which he proves to be “worthy of himself.”

Edward Weech
“Paris to a Stranger Is a Desert Full of Knaves & Whores – Like London:” Thomas Manning’s European Encounter, 1802-1805
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Thomas Manning (1772-1840), like many of his countrymen, took advantage of the Peace of Amiens to cross the Channel and visit France in 1802. In his thirtieth year, this Norfolk-born son of an affluent Anglican Rector arrived in France with good connections and broad horizons. A friend of Charles Lamb, and acquaintance of Coleridge, Manning was well-placed to enjoy Paris’s famous salon culture; and its allure is apparent in the letters he sent to his father and to Lamb. These social circles served as a stimulus to creativity, but were also a vital means of knowledge-sharing, networking and introduction. Manning arrived in Paris with several ambitious (if somewhat nebulous) cultural objectives, chief among which was to begin the study of the Chinese language – the first step towards a broader study of Chinese history and society. But Paris, a major centre for European mathematics, was also somewhere Manning hoped he could find new inspiration for the mathematical research he had continued after leaving Cambridge in 1795. It further served as the base for a typically idiosyncratic “Grand Tour,” which provided an opportunity for Manning to record his sociological and anthropological observations on rural locales. After eighteen months on the Continent, and on the cusp of returning to England, he was interned at Angers due to the resumption of war with Britain. Not until the end of his third year in France did he receive special permission to leave the country. Making original use of archival sources, this article contextualizes Manning’s Chinese project amid his myriad intellectual pursuits – mathematical, linguistic, sociological and anthropological – and suggests that it be understood as part of the wider zeitgeist of cultural reform.

Dominic Aidan Bellenger
Strangers and Brothers: The Émigré Clergy of the French Revolution in Great Britain and Their Impact
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The French Revolutionary émigré community in Britain was disproportionately clerical in its composition. In 1800, official statistics from the Alien Office (formed in 1793 to monitor revolutionary refugees) revealed that more than half the remaining ten thousand émigrés were clergy. Most had been parish priests who had refused the oaths associated with the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Numbers were further increased by the repatriation of many British Roman Catholic clergy who had been expelled from the sizeable network of Catholic schools and colleges at Douai, St Omer and elsewhere. Many émigré clergy settled in the London area and developed their own institutions, including chapels and social centres, making them effectively self-contained. A notable example was at Winchester, where several hundred were accommodated between 1792 and 1796 in the King’s House, an unfinished royal residence. The émigré clergy were financially supported first from voluntary contributions and later by state subsidy. Public sympathy and charitable support from the Church of England were conditional on their desisting from proselytism, and they kept largely out of public debate. A few influential writers, however, emerged, notably Augustin Barruel, a leading conspiracy theorist who was read not only by counter-revolutionaries like Edmund Burke but also radical authors such as Percy and Mary Shelley, who drew on Barruel’s Memoirs, Illustrating the History of Jacobinism in Frankenstein. Other Romantic writers who wrote, mostly sympathetically, about the emigrant clergy include William Wordsworth, Charlotte Smith, Fanny Burney and Hannah More. Above all, the émigré clergy were seen as sufferers for conscience’s state and both as beneficiaries of a benign British nation and as a living warning of the consequences of revolution.

Friedemann Pestel
Rien Appris? Children’s Émigré Novels, French Émigré Schools in Britain, and the Challenge of Education in Exile
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The limits of Talleyrand’s pernicious (and partly apocryphal) dictum that the émigrés had “learnt nothing” and “forgotten nothing” become obvious with regard to émigré education. Educating their children as France’s future elites after the imagined Restoration was a persistent concern for French émigrés after 1789. Under difficult living conditions and with unclear prospects of political exile, education became a consolidating strategy for combating the Revolution with pedagogy. The first part of this article discusses the social expectations of émigré education as reflected in children’s émigré novels by Stéphanie de Genlis, Lucy Peacock and Mary Pilkington. The second part explores how British émigré schools put such expectations into practice. The social composition, educational programs and public engagement of émigré schools reveal their pivotal role in émigré community life, involving priests, women, writers, politicians, local supporters – and children. The article shows how education helped to strengthen the émigrés’ identity and mobilise their hosts for the ideological, military and humanitarian struggle against the Revolution.

Richard Tholoniat
René-Martin Pillet: A French Republican’s Jaundiced View of Britain?
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René-Martin Pillet (1762-1815) found fame (and notoriety) with his description of the plight of the anonymous many on board English prison ships. His account of his captivity (and indirectly of previous stays in Britain) was published at the end of an eventful life: a trained lawyer, a follower of La Fayette, which eventually branded him an émigré to French authorities, he travelled to America where he became a citizen of the new republic; an officer in the armies of the Consulate and Empire, he fought from Guadeloupe to Portugal where he became a prisoner of the English. His social and geographical mobility highlights the problematic status of émigré and prisoner in the context of social and political upheavals in France and Britain brought about by the French Revolution and the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars. His book L’Angleterre vue à Londres et dans ses provinces pendant un séjour de dix années, dont six comme prisonnier de guerre (1815), a powerful indictment of French Anglomania, nevertheless provides perceptive observations on British institutions and manners. At the same time his Anglophobic remarks contribute pieces to the puzzle Pierre Reboul called “le mythe anglaise,” pieces Byron helped fit together.

Paul Hamilton
The Uses of Exile: Ugo Foscolo and Thomas Moore
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This essay examines the ways in which two Romantic-period contemporaries, the Irishman, Thomas Moore, and the Italian, Ugo Foscolo, wrote about their respective countries so as to command general political sympathy from readers. They were both exiles. Moore left Ireland, and then England, compelled to live for a while in France because of financial embarrassment. Foscolo, born in Zakynthos, fled the post-Napoleonic Austrian administration of Lombardy, settling in London. Both were welcomed to Holland House, chief salon of the Whigs, sharing their liberal ideology and political aspirations. The texts principally examined are Moore’s Irish Melodies, significantly interchangeable with his National Airs, and Foscolo’s Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis, with occasional reference to some of his poetic projects. In their different ways, both literary efforts strategically represent nationalist sentiments un-specifically. Moore employs an apparently vague sentimentalism and Foscolo an unreliable narrator to make Irish and Italian patriotism transferrable. They write as well as live a purposeful exile. Apparently culpable narrative incoherence in the Lettere or lack of emotional specificity in the Melodies are actually designed to let usefully powerful allies appropriate such writings to voice, as their own nationalist sentiments, causes originally Irish and Italian. Native estrangement enables international solidarity. This essay examines the uses of literature to express the common ground exile can reveal.

Review of Nicholas Grene , Chris Morash
The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre
Nicholas Grene and Chris Morash (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. 764 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-870613-7.
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Review of Kamila Vránková
Metamorphoses of the Sublime: From Ballads and Gothic Novels to Contemporary Children’s Literature.
Kamila Vránková, Metamorphoses of the Sublime: From Ballads and Gothic Novels to Contemporary Children’s Literature. České Budějovice: Jihočeská univerzita v Českých Budějovicích – Pedagogická fakulta, 2019. 168 pp. ISBN: 978-80-7394-753-8.
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Notes on Contributors
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