Romanticism and the Counterfactual Chinese Awakening

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


This essay develops a counterfactual reading of the Romantic period in which the topos of China is more significant. It takes as its premise the success of Thomas Percy's Chinese writings, the symbiosis of chinoiserie and gothic. It speculates about what might have happened if Coleridge had gone to Canton instead of Malta as he proposed, or Keats and Shelley had acted as surgeons on the East India Company ships. Situated in contemporary histories of sinology, this essay uses the premise of a more sympathetic and pervasive British understanding of Chinese culture to interrogate Sino-British cultural relations in the early nineteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCounterfactual Romanticism: Rethinking the Nineteenth Century
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781526107077
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • Romanticism
  • China
  • Orientalism
  • Coleridge

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