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The Empire and Orientalism in Romantic Literature - Lesson Summary

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The Romantic period’s general curiosity about and an interest in other cultures in reflected in its literature.
There are specific stereotypes of men and women in Romantic literature, which were meant to construct the East in a certain way.
By positing the natives, particularly women, as delicate, vulnerable, needing protection, the British were able to justify colonial rule as benevolent protection.
Critics have noted that prose, such as Tomas de Quincy's, is caught in the dilemma of being fascinated by the Other and repulsed by it.
Thomas de Quincey’s work hints at an unnameable anxiety represented by the East.
The famous poet, Byron, has also indulged in the taste for the Orient and the popular stereotypes in his works such as “The Giaour.”
Felicia Hemans is another notable poet of the Romantic period, who has stereotyped the Other in several of her works, such as "England and Spain," “The Indian City” and ’ “The Traveller at the Source of the Nile”
Critics have argued that the representation of the East as collapsing or already collapsed is an expression of a cultural anxiety that the East should never pose a threat to the European Empire itself.