Fictions and Faces: Forging Romantic Authenticity, 1760–1845

British Romantic literature descends from a line of impostors, forgers and frauds. Through a series of case-studies - beginning with the golden age of forgery in the late eighteenth century and continuing through canonical Romanticism and its aftermath - Margaret Russett demonstrates how Romantic writers distinguished their fictions from the fakes surrounding them. The book examines canonical and lesser-known Romantic works alongside fakes such as Thomas Chatterton's medieval poems and ‘Caraboo’, the impostor-princess. Through original readings of works by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Walter Scott, John Clare, and James Hogg, as well as chapters on impostors in popular culture, Russett's interdisciplinary and wide-ranging study offers a major reinterpretation of Romanticism and its continuing influence today.