Cover

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Title Page, About the Series, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication, Quote

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I have been supremely fortunate in my editors: extensive comments from David Bromwich and Jim Chandler have simply left this a better book than it would otherwise have been. They were the best kind of editors, at once critical and encouraging, scrupulous and magnanimous. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 3-16

This is a book about the persistence of the dead; about why they continue to matter long after we have emerged from grief and resigned ourselves to loss. I argue here for a conception of mourning that moves beyond the familiar notion of an individual’s anguish in the immediate wake of bereavement. ...

Part I: A Century of Tears

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pp. 17-18

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One: Elegia and the Enlightenment

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pp. 19-47

This chapter interprets the cultural meanings of mourning in the Enlightenment. Since my analysis will invoke disciplines as diverse as literature, philosophy, politics, and economics, it seems a good idea to start by saying what I am not attempting here. ...

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Two: Written Wailings

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pp. 48-72

During the latter half of the eighteenth century, the fortunes of Elegia rose considerably. Gray’s Elegy, by evincing both a collective, public object of mourning and a communal mourning persona, garnered a new esteem for literary mourning. In the pages of the Annual Register, Gray was credited with immeasurably broadening the elegy’s scope: ...

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Three: Burke, Paine, Wordsworth, and the Politics of Sympathy

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pp. 73-114

In The Ethics of Romanticism, Laurence Lockridge refers to “the usual understanding that ethics deals with obligation and moral value as they pertain to individuals in their relatedness to themselves and to others; politics deals with larger groups or governments wherein expediency may or may not—depending on which politics is invoked— properly override moral objections.”1 ...

Part II: Authentic Epitaphs

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pp. 115-116

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Four: “The Impotence of Grief”: Wordsworth’s Genealogies of Morals

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pp. 117-150

WHAT GIVES The Ruined Cottage its peculiar quality of being unforgettable—to the young man listening by the cottage; to Coleridge, Lamb, and others of Wordsworth’s circle; to readers of our own day who continue to hold it in high esteem1—is the abyss between Margaret’s deep suffering and the Pedlar’s deeply felt sympathy for her. ...

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Five: “This Pregnant Spot of Ground”: Bearing the Dead in The Excursion

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pp. 151-195

Discharging Wordsworth from the clinic of criticism in this review of The Excursion, Francis Jeffrey admits him to the hospice of moribund poets—to be sustained, presumably, by more charitable readers than Jeffrey. But Jeffrey’s diagnosis of Wordsworth, in its emphasis on bodily disease, ...

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Six: A Nation’s Sorrows, a People’s Tears: The Politics of Mourning Princess Charlotte

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pp. 196-229

At 9:00 P.M. on November 5, 1817, after fifty hours of labor, Princess Charlotte Augusta was delivered of a stillborn male infant. The child, had it lived, would have been third in line for the crown after its maternal grandfather, the Prince Regent, and its mother; attempts to “reanimate” the “perfectly formed,” nine-pound infant with mouth-to-mouth insufflation, ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 230-240

Let us compare Eliot’s epigraph above to the 1711 quotation from Richard Steele that stands as an epigraph to chapter 1. Both writers satirize an instance of mourning by raising a question of propriety: when is the connection between mourner and mourned too remote to be worthy of the reader’s (or in Steele’s case, questioner’s) sympathy?

Notes

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pp. 241-280

Index

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pp. 281-290