The Difference Dictonary

Radical - In English politics, a member of the more extreme wing of the Whig or Liberal Parties. Used after 1797 as a term covering all those who supported the movement for parliamentary reform. After the passing of the Reform bill of 1832, a number of radicals, dissatisfied with the extent of its reform, kept continual but ineffective pressure on the Whigs to extend the franchise to the working class. Organized members of the working class were not in sympathy with them, due to their support of the Poor Law of 1834 and their hostility to the Chartists. Their influence declined between 1839 and 1850, but revived with the disappearance of Chartism after 1850. They were active in promoting reform of the suffrage, achieved between 1867 and 1884.

Realism - In his manifesto Le Realisme (1857), the French novelist Champfleury emphasized sincerity, as opposed to the Romantic emphasis on liberty. Reflecting the popular interest in science and positivism, it insisted that novels have accurate documentation, sociological insight, accumulated details of material fact, and avoidance of idealization and poetic diction. Subjects were to be taken from every day life, especially from lower-class life. Balzac and Stendhal have been named as precursors of Realism, and Flaubert as a practitioner.

Reform Act of 1832 - Ended the monopoly on political power enjoyed in England by the aristocratic landowner, and extended power to the bourgeois middle class.

The Revolutionary Epic - An epic poem by Disraeli that opens with a debate between Magros, the Genius of Feudalism, and Lyridon, the Genius of Federalism. Strongly influenced by Shelley's The Revolt of Islam.

The Richardson affair - Sept 4, 1862, British subjects attacked near Yokohama by irreconcilably conservative (as Edwin Reischauer termed them) retainers of Shimazu Hisamitsu, daimyo of Satsuma. Charles Richardson and three companions rode past Hitamatsu's procession without paying what was deemed proper respect. Richardson was killed and two companions were injured. In response to British protests, the Shogunate paid a hundred thousand pounds indemnity, but Satsuma refused to pay indemnity or execute the killers. As a result the British bombarded the city of Kagoshima on August 15, 1863.

Roller-skates - Wheeled skates were used in the 18th century on the roads of Holland, but it was the invention in 1863 of four-wheeled skates that worked on rubber pads that popularized the sport.

Romanticism - An international movement that swept Western Europe and Russia, at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, inspired by the French and American revolutions and the popular wars of independence in Greece, Spain, Poland, etc. A reaction against the mechanism and rationalism of the Enlightenment, Romanticism revolted against formality and containment, emphasized the individual and the expressive, intensity and imagination. It asserted the primacy of the perceiver, of the individual experience. In England, it can be seen as involving several generations of poets and artists, starting with Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge, as well as the Gothic novelists, then Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Byron, Mary Shelley, the Bronte sisters, etc., etc. It reverberated into English popular literature as the 19th century progressed.
The Religious Influence of the Romantic Poets

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The Difference Dictionary was first published
in slightly different form in Science Fiction Eye, Issue #8.
Text copyright 1990, 1996, 2000, 2003,
by Eileen K. Gunn.

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