Robert Bage: Hermsprong, Or Man as He is Not

(1276 words)

Robert Bage’s Hermsprong was unlucky in its timing. Published in 1796, it is an exuberant, comic celebration of free debate and independent thought, featuring a boldly outspoken hero who challenges representatives of church and state to adhere to the values they nominally uphold, and a forthright heroine who capably employs charm, intelligence — and on one occasion a pistol — to defeat her enemies. It exemplifies the liberal values endorsed by a number of writers of the 1780s and early 90s, yet within a few years of publication, it was already starting to seem hopelessly old-fashioned, tainted by its author’s outmoded, even dangerous political views. As early as 1810, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, who advocated moderate …

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Perkins, Pam. "Hermsprong, Or Man as He is Not". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 June 2003
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. English Romanticism