Romanticism and Popular Magic

Poetry and Cultures of the Occult in the 1790s

  • Stephanie Elizabeth Churms

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Stephanie Elizabeth Churms
    Pages 1-16
  3. Stephanie Elizabeth Churms
    Pages 81-107
  4. Stephanie Elizabeth Churms
    Pages 109-130
  5. Stephanie Elizabeth Churms
    Pages 131-163
  6. Stephanie Elizabeth Churms
    Pages 165-213
  7. Stephanie Elizabeth Churms
    Pages 215-261
  8. Stephanie Elizabeth Churms
    Pages 263-272
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 273-303

About this book


This book explores how Romanticism was shaped by practices of popular magic.  It seeks to identify the place of occult activity and culture – in the form of curses, spells, future-telling, charms and protective talismans – in everyday life, together with the ways in which such practice figures, and is refigured, in literary and political discourse at a time of revolutionary upheaval.  What emerges is a new perspective on literature’s material contexts in the 1790s – from the rhetorical, linguistic and visual jugglery of the revolution controversy, to John Thelwall’s occult turn during a period of autobiographical self-reinvention at the end of the decade.  From Wordsworth’s deployment of popular magic as a socially and politically emancipatory agent in Lyrical Ballads, to Coleridge’s anxious engagement with superstition as a despotic system of ‘mental enslavement’, and Robert Southey’s wrestling with an (increasingly alluring) conservatism he associated with a reliance on ultimately incarcerating systems of superstition.


Social history Imaginative literature Conjuror Thelwall William Wordsworth Ballad Epic Periodical Biography Didactic pamphlet Polemical tract Closet drama

Authors and affiliations

  • Stephanie Elizabeth Churms
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarSurreyUK

Bibliographic information