Romanticism, Lyricism, and History

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Arguing against a persistent view of Romantic lyricism as an inherently introspective mode, this book examines how Charlotte Smith, William Wordsworth, and John Clare recognized end employed the mode's immense capacity for engaging reading audiences in reflections both personal and social. Zimmerman focuses new attention on the Romantic lyric's audiences - not the silent, passive auditor of canonical paradigms, but historical readers and critics who can tell us more than we have asked about the mode's rhetorical possibilities. She situates poems within the specific circumstances of their production and consumption, including the aftermath in England of the French Revolution, rural poverty, the processes of parliamentary enclosure, the biographical contours of poet's careers, and the myriad exchanges among poets, patrons, publishers, critics, and readers in the literary marketplace.
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About the author

Sarah M. Zimmerman is Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Pages
233
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ISBN
9781438424859
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / Poetry
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Reading Public Romanticism is a significant new example of the linking of esthetics and historical criticism. Here Paul Magnuson locates Romantic poetry within a public discourse that combines politics and esthetics, nationalism and domesticity, sexuality and morality, law and legitimacy. Building on his well-regarded previous work, Magnuson practices a methodology of close historical reading by identifying precise versions of poems, reading their rhetoric of allusion and quotation in the contexts of their original publication, and describing their public genres, such as the letter. He studies the author's public signature or motto, the forms and significance of address used in poems, and the resonances of poetic language and tropes in the public debates.

According to Magnuson, "reading locations" means reading the writing that surrounds a poem, the "paratext" or "frame" of the esthetic boundary. In their particular locations in the public discourse, romantic poems are illocutionary speech acts that take a stand on public issues and legitimate their authors both as public characters and as writers. He traces the public significance of canonical poems commonly considered as lyrics with little explicit social or political commentary, including Wordsworth's "Immortality Ode"; Coleridge's "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison," "Frost at Midnight," and "The Ancient Mariner"; and Keats's "On a Grecian Urn." He also positions Byron's Dedication to Don Juan in the debates over Southey's laureateship and claims for poetic authority and legitimacy. Reading Public Romanticism is a thoughtful and revealing work.

Originally published in 1998.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Arguing that the end of the eighteenth-century witnessed the emergence of an important female poetic tradition, Claire Knowles analyzes the poetry of several key women writing between 1780 and 1860. Knowles provides important context by demonstrating the influence of the Della Cruscans in exposing the constructed and performative nature of the trope of sensibility, a revelation that was met with critical hostility by a literary culture that valorised sincerity. This sets the stage for Charlotte Smith, who pioneers an autobiographical approach to poetic production that places increased emphasis on the connection between the poet's physical body and her body of work. Knowles shows the poets Susan Evance, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, and Elizabeth Barrett-Browning advancing Smith's poetic strategy as they seek to elicit a powerful sympathetic response from readers by highlighting a connection between their actual suffering and the production of poetry. From this environment, a specific tradition in female poetry arises that is identifiable in the work of twentieth-century writers like Sylvia Plath and continues to pertain today. Alongside this new understanding of poetic tradition, Knowles provides an innovative account of the central role of women writers to an emergent late eighteenth-century mass literary culture and traces a crucial discursive shift that takes place in poetic production during this period. She argues that the movement away from the passionate discourse of sensibility in the late eighteenth century to the more contained rhetoric of sentimentality in the early nineteenth had an enormous effect, not only on female poets but also on British literary culture as a whole.
From the bestselling author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor comes this essential primer to reading poetry like a professor that unlocks the keys to enjoying works from Lord Byron to the Beatles.

No literary form is as admired and feared as poetry. Admired for its lengthy pedigree—a line of poets extending back to a time before recorded history—and a ubiquitous presence in virtually all cultures, poetry is also revered for its great beauty and the powerful emotions it evokes. But the form has also instilled trepidation in its many admirers mainly because of a lack of familiarity and knowledge.

Poetry demands more from readers—intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually—than other literary forms. Most of us started out loving poetry because it filled our beloved children's books from Dr. Seuss to Robert Louis Stevenson. Eventually, our reading shifted to prose and later when we encountered poetry again, we had no recent experience to make it feel familiar. But reading poetry doesn’t need to be so overwhelming. In an entertaining and engaging voice, Thomas C. Foster shows readers how to overcome their fear of poetry and learn to enjoy it once more.

From classic poets such as Shakespeare, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Edna St. Vincent Millay to later poets such as E.E. Cummings, Billy Collins, and Seamus Heaney, How to Read Poetry Like a Professor examines a wide array of poems and teaches readers:

How to read a poem to understand its primary meaning.The different technical elements of poetry such as meter, diction, rhyme, line structures, length, order, regularity, and how to learn to see these elements as allies rather than adversaries.How to listen for a poem’s secondary meaning by paying attention to the echoes that the language of poetry summons up.How to hear the music in poems—and the poetry in songs!

With How to Read Poetry Like a Professor, readers can rediscover poetry and reap its many rewards.


 

 

 

 

 

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