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This one-day symposium will gather distinguished scholars of Romanticism to explore the complex literary, cultural and political developments of Britain in 1818 and their resonances today. We take our title from the conclusion of Austen’s posthumously published Persuasion (dated 1818), in which Anne Elliot pays for the glory of being a sailor’s wife with “the tax of quick alarm”: her “felicity” comes with the price of “dread of a future war.” How is alarm registered, magnified, satirized, displaced, or suppressed in the cultural materials of the year before Peterloo? How do languages of legitimacy and illegitimacy, grievance and reform, consensus and dissent, caution and incautiousness, limit and possibility echo between 1818 and today? How are political and cultural dynamics of change and stasis understood in each moment? Please join us for a lively and thoughtful day-long discussion.


1818/2018: The Tax of Quick Alarm

October 13, 2018, 10:30am-5:30pm

Johnson Center, George Mason University


Keynote Speaker: Mary Favret (Johns Hopkins University)

Speakers: Katey Castellano (James Madison University), Tara Ghoshal Wallace (George Washington University), Mark Parker (James Madison University), Mark Schoenfield (Vanderbilt University), Orrin Wang (University of Maryland), Kim Wheatley (College of William and Mary).


To learn more about the symposium, please visit


This event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required; however, to help us estimate size, please indicate your interest via email to [log in to unmask] by October 10




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