Robert Bage: Hermsprong, Or Man as He is Not (1276 words)

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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 …

Perkins, Pam. "Hermsprong, Or Man as He is Not". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 June 2003
[, accessed 20 April 2018.]

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  1. English Romanticism

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