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“A Son of John Thelwall”: Weymouth Birkbeck Thelwall’s Romantic Inheritance

This essay traces the meandering career of Weymouth Birkbeck Thelwall, the son of John Thelwall and his former pupil and second wife, the young and beautiful Henrietta Cecil Boyle. Born on the eve of reform and near the end of John Thelwall’s life, Weymouth followed in his father’s artistic, adventurous and amorous footsteps; creating his own peripatetic journey which led him eventually to a tragic and isolated death in colonial Nyasaland. His life narrative graphically illustrates how the Romantic idealism espoused by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century radicals; the reforms in education, and the civil and religious liberties which they campaigned for had unlooked for consequences, culminating in the late Victorian grab for Africa figured in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In Weymouth Thelwall we have a true “son of John Thelwall” and a strangely prophetic model of Mr. Kurz: citizen, artist, journalist and romantic idealist—with an eye to the main chance and a defiant propensity to take one too many risks.
September 2011

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Intervention & Commitment Forever! Shelley in 1819, Shelley in Brecht, Shelley in Adorno, Shelley in Benjamin

For Romantic and Modernist studies, as well as for the history of critical theory, Kaufman uncovers and analyses the significance of Left Modernist and Frankfurt School rediscoveries of Shelley. The essay also considers the crucial role that Shelley's work plays vis-a-vis the new directions taken in the work of these Modernist artists and critics precisely during the periods often seen as having laid the foundations for the subsequent Modern/Postmodern divide, as well as for our own understandings of the Romantic legacy.
May 2001

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