Robert Southey and the Origins of Pantisocracy
On 13 February 1817 Sherwood, Neely and Jones published without authority the first edition of Southey’s tragedy Wat Tyler, written at the peak of his revolutionary career in 1794. Southey, who had been Poet Laureate since 1813, at first pretended to be ‘very little concerned at this dirty transaction’, as he told John Murray. But by 9 April he had applied for an injunction to restrain the publishers, ‘the case being as plain as day light, that the property was mine’ (Curry, ii. 151, 153).1 That, of course, was exactly the problem. Wat Tyler appeared as an unwelcome reminder of the republican politics of his youth, and the revelation that the ‘Ultra-royalist’ Laureate had once been an ‘Ultra-jacobin’ produced a fierce controversy in newspapers, pamphlets, and in the House of Commons.
KeywordsCorporal Punishment Perpetual Infringement Republican Politics National Convention Personal Anxiety
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