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Poet laureate of England from 1843 until his death in 1850, William Wordsworth is often credited as being one of the founders of English Romanticism. The 1798 joint publication of Wordsworth's and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads marked a turning point in English poetry, as poets began to emphasize imagination and feeling over the primacy of reason. Wordsworth's poems focused on the natural and the ordinary, as based on the "real language of men." In his preface to the third edition of Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth set forth his definition of poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings from emotions recollected in tranquility." The criticism contained in this volume considers Wordsworth's major works and attests to his lasting influence on poetry.
Wordsworth's power over us stems from the manifest strength of his efforts to integrate several strenuous and potentially contradictory efforts. Indeed, it is not until Yeats that we encounter another poet in whom emotional susceptibility, intellectual force, psychological acuteness, political awareness, artistic self-knowledge and bardic representativeness are so truly and responsibly combined. He is an indispensable figure in the evolution of modern, a finder and keeper of the self as subject, a theorist and apologist whose preface to Lyrical Ballads 1802 remains definitive.
William Wordsworth is the most influential of the Romantic poets, and remains widely popular, even though his work is more complex and more engaged with the political, social and religious upheavals of his time than his reputation as a 'nature poet' might suggest. Outlining a series of contexts - biographical, historical and literary - as well as critical approaches to Wordsworth, this Introduction offers students ways to understand and enjoy Wordsworth's poetry and his role in the development of Romanticism in Britain. Emma Mason offers a completely up-to-date summary of criticism on Wordsworth from the Romantics to the present and an annotated guide to further reading. With definitions of technical terms and close readings of individual poems, Wordsworth's experiments with form are fully explained. This concise book is the ideal starting point for studying Lyrical Ballads, The Prelude, and the major poems as well as Wordsworth's lesser known writings.
The Prelude is now seen as a central text in the Wordsworth corpus. This Guide identifies and gathers significant critical perspectives, interpretations and debates connected with the poem, contextualising and explaining criticism from the Victorian period right through to the present day.
Coleridge's poetry often overshadows the brilliance of the other genres and forms of writing that occupied his interests. Classic works such as "Kubla Khan" have taken their place among the most accomplished poems written in the English language. His critical work also extends and reveals a wealth of profoundly sensitive observations and a prophetic vision of compelling authenticity. This new edition offers a selection of contemporary critical commentary on the author, plus an introduction by master critic Harold Bloom, a bibliography, an index, and a chronology of Coleridge's life.
Author of 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', 'Kubla Khan' and 'Christabel', and co-author with Wordsworth of Lyrical Ballads in 1798, Samuel Taylor Coleridge was one of the great writers and thinkers of the Romantic revolution. This innovative introduction discusses his interest in language and his extraordinary private notebooks, as well as his poems, his literary criticism and his biography. John Worthen presents a range of readings of Coleridge's work, along with biographical context and historical background. Discussion of Coleridge's notebooks alongside his poems illuminates this rich material and finds it a way into his creativity. Readers are invited to see Coleridge as an immensely self-aware, witty and charismatic writer who, although damaged by an opium habit, responded to and in his turn influenced the literary, political, religious and scientific thinking of his time.
A practical and comprehensive reference work, the Oxford Handbook provides the best single-volume source of original scholarship on all aspects of Coleridge's diverse writings. Thirty-seven chapters, bringing together the wisdome of experts from across the world, present an authoritative, in-depth, and up-to-date assessment of a major author of British Romanticism. The book is divided into sections on Biography, Prose Works, Poetic Works, Sources and Influences, and Reception. The Coleridge scholar today has ready access to a range of materials previously available only in library archives on both sides of the Atlantic. The Oxford Handbook examines the entire range and complexity of Coleridge's career. It analyzes the many aspects of Coleridge's literary, critical, philosophical, and theological pursuits, and it furnishes both students and advanced scholars with the proper tools for assimilating and illuminating Coleridge's rich and varied accomplishments, as well as offering an authoritative guide to the most up-to-date thinking about his achievements.
The friendship between William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge produced dazzling results; from it came Lyrical Ballads, the volume that kick-started the Romantic movement in England. Though much has been written about both these two, this is the first modern biography to consider them together. The result restores balance to a story distorted by bitterness and recrimination. Rarely if ever have two such gifted writers cooperated so closely Coleridge, who acknowledged Wordsworth as the greatest poet since Milton, was himself a poet of unique talents, and moreover was widely recognized to be the outstanding genius of his time. In the summer of 1797, they began to meet almost daily, usually in the company of Wordsworth's sister Dorothy, whose ardent manner delighted Coleridge and whose sensitivity to the natural world fed much of the poets' work. These three spent a lot of their time outside, glorying in the beauty of their surroundings and recognizing in nature a haven from the dehumanizing forces of the age.
Blake speaks more directly to us, anticipating the issues, conflicts, and anxieties of the modern world, than any of his contemporaries. It could be argued that he dared, in fact, to be the first modern poet. Above all, Blake teaches us that the imagination is a portion of the divine principle, that "Energy is Eternal Delight," and that "everything that lives is Holy." Human liberty and imagination have never been better served.
The Bible was crucial for William Blake and for his poetic genius, whether as an object of criticism or as an inspiration. This book—the first substantial study of the topic in sixty years—locates Blake within the broad spectrum of Christian biblical interpretation and explores the ways in which Blake engaged with the Bible. Christopher Rowland argues that Blake's approach to the Bible was broadly consistent, even though he underwent something of a religious change in his later years. The author also shows how Blake saw himself as being in the prophetic tradition and also as somehow continuing the work of John of Patmos, author of the Book of Revelation.
Known for his prophetic and imaginative works of poetry, painting, and printmaking, William Blake was also a prolific reader and annotator of other writers' works. This is the first work of criticism to consider Blake's annotations in their entirety, and it covers such topics as art, poetry, theology, madness and philosophy, as well as the authors Lavater, Swedenborg, Bacon, Spurzheim, Berkeley, and Wordsworth, among others.
Romantic poet John Keats was only 25 when he died of tuberculosis, but his work has achieved canonical status. Poet and critic Matthew Arnold said of Keats, "In the faculty of naturalistic interpretation, in what we call natural magic, he ranks with Shakespeare." Keats's more recognizable poems include "Ode on a Grecian Urn," "Ode to a Nightingale," and "Ode on Melancholy." Updated with all-new, full-length critical essays selected by Harold Bloom, this volume will draw students into an in-depth study of the brilliant young poet. A chronology, notes on the contributors, and a bibliography round out this useful resource.
This poet whose greatest ambition was to he "among the English poets" is not only preeminent among those of the past, but for well over a century he has continued to be the yardstick by which those who have written poetry in our language can measure their success. He remains a wellspring to which all of us might go to refresh our belief in the value of this art.
At the heart of this ‘Literary Life’ are fresh interpretations of Keats’s most loved poems, alongside other neglected but rich poems. The readings are placed in the contexts of his letters to family and friends, his medical training, radical politics of the time, his love for Fanny Brawne, his coterie of literary figures and his tragic early death.
Lord Byron has been called a vital embodiment of post-Renaissance poetry. His work is that of a proud individualist asserting the primacy of instinct through agonized self-conflict. Born in 1788, Byron is considered one of the greatest poets of the Romantic Movement. This volume presents critical commentary from his lifetime and beyond to provide a thorough and thought-provoking portrait of this essential poet's evolving reputation. This new title in the Bloom's Classic Critical Views series also features a chronology of Lord Byron's life, an index of the volume, and an introductory essay by noted literary scholar Harold Bloom.
Author of the most influential long poem of its era (Childe Harold's Pilgrimage) and the funniest long poem in European literature (Don Juan), Lord Byron was also the literary superstar of Romanticism, whose effect on nineteenth-century writers, artists, musicians and politicians - but also everyday readers - was second to none. His poems seduced and scandalized readers, and his life and legend were correspondingly magnetic, given added force by his early death in the Greek War of Independence. This introduction compresses his extraordinary life to manageable proportions and gives readers a firm set of contexts in the politics, warfare, and Romantic ideology of Byron's era. It offers a guide to the main themes in his wide-ranging oeuvre, from the early poems that made him famous (and infamous) overnight, to his narrative tales, dramas and the comic epic left incomplete at his death.
Acclaimed biographer of James Joyce Edna O'Brien has written an intimate biography that suits her fiery and charismatic subject. She follows Byron from the dissipations of Regency London to the wilds of Albania and the Socratic pleasures of Greece and Turkey, culminating in his meteoric rise to fame at the age of twenty-four on the publication of Childe Harold. With her prismatic eye and novelistic style, O'Brien eerily captures the spirit of the man and creates an indelible portrait of Byron that explodes the Romantic myth. From his escapades with John Edleston, the fourteen-year-old Cambridge choir boy, to those with a galaxy of women that included his half-sister, his wife of one year, and the Italian countess who forsook her satyr-like husband for "the peer of England and its greatest poet," Byron scandalized the world and inspires "Byronmania" to this day. Byron, as brilliantly rendered by O'Brien, is the poet as rebel, imaginative and lawless, and defiantly immortal.
Percy Shelley left an indelible mark on English romantic poetry with his enduring works, including "Ozymandias," "To a Skylark," and "Ode to the West Wind." Esteemed scholar Harold Bloom states that Shelley, though at heart a skeptic and not a Platonic visionary, nevertheless broke through to a Gnostic vision of his own. His evolving critical reputation is presented here from the commentary of those who knew him to the assessments of succeeding generations of critics and readers. These critical essays are enhanced by a chronology of Shelley's life, an index of the volume, and an introductory essay penned by Bloom.
The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley takes stock of current developments in the study of a major Romantic poet and prose-writer, and seeks to advance Shelley studies beyond the current state of scholarship. It consists of forty-two chapters written by a prestigious internationalcast of established and emerging scholar-critics, and offers the most wide-ranging single-volume body of writings on Shelley. The volume builds on the textual revolution in Shelley studies, which has transformed understanding of the poet, as critics are able to focus on what Shelley actually wrote. This Handbook is divided into five thematic sections: Biography and Relationships; Prose; Poetry; Cultures, Traditions, Influences; and Afterlives. The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley brings out the relevance to Shelley's own work of his dictum that 'All high poetry is infinite' and shows how he continues to generate original critical responses.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) was an extraordinary poet, playwright and essayist, revolutionary both in his ideas and in his artistic theory and practice. This 2006 collection of original essays by an international group of specialists is a comprehensive survey of the life, works and times of this radical Romantic writer. Three sections cover Shelley's life and posthumous reception; the basics of his poetry, prose and drama; and his immersion in the currents of philosophical and political thinking and practice. As well as providing a wide-ranging look at the state of existing scholarship, the Companion develops and enriches our understanding of Shelley. Significant new contributions include fresh assessments of Shelley's narratives, his view of philosophy, and his role in emerging views about ecology. With its chronology and guide to further reading, this lively and accessible Companion is an invaluable guide for students and scholars of Shelley and of Romanticism.
Shelley's drafts and notebooks, which have recently been published for the first time, are very revealing about the creative processes behind his poems, and show – through illustrations and doodles – an unexpectedly vivid visual imagination which contributed greatly to the effect of his poetry. Shelley's Visual Imagination analyzes both verbal script and visual sketches in his manuscripts to interpret the lively personifications of concepts such as 'Liberty', 'Anarchy', or 'Life' in his completed poems. Challenging the persistent assumption that Shelley's poetry in particular, and Romantic poetry more generally, reject the visual for expressive voice or music, this first full-length study of the drafts and notebooks combines criticism with a focus upon bibliographic codes and iconic pages.