This essay attempts to widen the discursive contexts through which scholars understand Romantic historicism and the role of Walter Scott's Waverley Novels in its development. Placing Scott's The Antiquary (1816) and ''Dedicatory Epistle'' to Ivanhoe (1819) in dialogue with contemporaneous verbal and visual discourse over antiquaries, Edmund Burke, and the Lady Hamilton affair, the essay proposes that Romantic historicism disciplined bodies as it defined and authorized new forms of knowledge. Romantic historicists perceived the ability to relate to and know the past properly as dependent on the manliness of the historical thinker's sentimental and sexual constitution. Thus, the era's arguments over the legitimacy of different forms of historical inquiry, as well as over the historical novel's cultural authority in relation to the field of history, frequently became contests over the manliness and sensibility of their practitioners' bodies.

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