Abstract

In much eighteenth-century British literary criticism, passion distinguishes poetry from philosophy, whose ideas are too abstract to evoke emotion. At the end of the century, however, William Wordsworth radically refuses this distinction between poetry and philosophy, rejecting the centrality of passion for poetry. Instead, developing ideas latent in the work of James Beattie, he places affection at the heart of his poetic theory. This essay uncovers "the affections" as a major site of meaning for Wordsworth: calm, rationalized emotions, they yoke together the philosophical and the poetical, enabling poetry not merely to stimulate emotion but moreover to think through it.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 72-87
Launched on MUSE
2013-08-02
Open Access
No
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