Notorious Facts examines the sensationalistic confounding of persons and principles in the public life of Romantic England (1780-1830). Its purview is limited to five decades straddling the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, but its trajectory, moving from a politics rendered in personal terms to a politics of personality, describes a shift still in process today. The study's chapters draw on a motley body of literature (pamphlets, secret histories, and the like) that at first glance seems uncharacteristic of what literary historians call the English Romantic period. Viewed in the context of something called late Georgian England, these texts seem more indigenous, but if the canonical revisionism of the last few decades should teach us anything, it is that a Romanticism encompassing all romanticisms ideally excludes nothing. In its heroic Enlightenment sense, publicity is concerned with exposing the workings of power for all to see. A good deal may be inferred about publicity in Romantic England from primary texts in which this salutary function is at once espoused and subverted. These texts-the mostly nameless or pseudonymous authors of the age's pamphlet literature are the heroes and villains of the piece-almost invariably claim to speak from a disinterested conception of publicity while putting its methods of critical exposure to wholly self-interested purposes. This study examines well-known authors of the period like Jeremy Bentham, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and William Hazlitt, as well as pamphleteers like John Horne Tooke, Philip Withers, and Nathaniel Jefferys. Other figures include authors of secret history like Thomas Ashe, Mary Anne Clarke, Lewis Goldsmith, and Joseph Haslewood in addition to notorious figures in their own right such as the Prince and Princess of Wales, Mrs. Fitzherbert, and the Reverend Edward Irving. Among the topics treated are treasonous libel, royal scandal, secret history, and celebrity.
1 Introduction 2 Chapter 1. Libelous Truths: Power and Publicity 3 Three English Perspectives 4 1. An Essay on the Evils of Scandal, Slander, and Misrepresentation 5 Jeremy Bentham: "An Essay on Political Tactics" 6 Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Friend 7 Three Pamphlet Controversies 8 1. Secret Influence Public Ruin! 9 2. Matter of Fact for the Multitude 10 3. A Few Cursory Remarks upon the State of Parties 11 English Libel Law 12 The King v. John and Leigh Hunt 13 Chapter 2. Regal Obsessions: Scandal and the Prince of Wales 14 Men versus Measures 15 The Fitzherbert Affair 16 1. John Horne Tooke: A Letter to a Friend 17 2. Philip Withers and the Alfred Pamphlets 18 The Jefferys Affair 19 1. The Delicate Investigation 20 2. Nathaniel Jefferys: A Review of the Conduct of the Prince of Wales 21 Chapter 3. Secret Histories: The Popular Idiom of Exposure 22 Secret History and Publicity 23 Royal Revelations 24 1. Thomas Ashe: The Spirit of "The Book" 25 2. Mary Anne Clarke: Minutes of Evidence and The Rival Princes 26 Napoleonic Disclosures 27 1. The Expose; or, Napoleon Buonaparte Unmasked (1809) 28 2. The Secret History of the Cabinet of Bonaparte (1810) 29 3. Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Buonaparte (1819) 30 Green Room Exposes 31 1. Joseph Haslewood, The Secret History of the Green-Room 32 2. Edwin versus McCready 33 Chapter 4. Celebrity Turns: William Hazlitt and the Reverend Edward Irving 34 William Hazlitt 35 1. "Whether Actors Ought to Sit in the Boxes" 36 2. Liber Amoris 37 3. The Spirit of the Age 38 Edward Irving 39 1. Hazlitt on Irving 40 2. Ministry and Media 41 3. Dangerous Preaching 42 Afterword 43 Bibliography