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Despite our preconceptions, Romantic writers, artists, and philosophers did not think of honor as an archaic or regressive concept, but as a contemporary, even progressive value that operated as a counterpoint to freedom, a well-known preoccupation of the period's literature. Focusing on texts by William Godwin, William Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Mary Prince, and Mary Seacole, this book argues that the revitalization of honor in the first half of the nineteenth century signalled a crisis in the emerging liberal order, one with which we still wrestle today: how can political subjects demand real, materialist forms of dignity in a system dedicated to an abstract, and often impoverished, idea of 'liberty'? Honor, Romanticism, and the Hidden Value of Modernity presents both a theory and a history of this question in the media of the Black Atlantic, the Jacobin novel, the landscape poem, and the “financial” romance.

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