Perversity of Poetry, The
Romantic Ideology and the Popular Male Poet of Genius
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Nineteenth-century critics expressed with cries of alarm what was for W. H. Auden by 1939 a mere statement of fact: “poetry makes nothing happen.” The lines that follow this statement in Auden’s famous poem, “In Memory of W. B.Yeats,” speak to a number of the concerns in this book:...
1. DIAGNOSING GENIUS
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BEFORE I CAN TURN TO THE RHETORICAL STRATEGIES USED BY MEN of letters to “diagnose” Scott and Byron, the two poets who were consistently seen as the opposing possibilities for poetic genius in the late Romantic period, and before I can begin to demonstrate the connection between each poet’s poetry and politics,...
2. ROMANTICISM’S LAST MINSTREL
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WHEN HE DECIDED TO TURN TO THE ROMANCE FORM IN HIS 1805 Lay of the Last Minstrel, just a few years after Wordsworth attacked the “degrading thirst after outrageous stimulation” fed by “idle and extravagant stories in verse” (Prose 1.128–30), Scott was engaging a rather embattled generic form. ...
3. BYRON’S SPECTROPOETICS AND REVOLUTION
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UNLIKE SCOTT, BYRON COMPLICATED THE HARMONIZING FUNCTION of the romance by “unromantically” discussing the present. This chapter will argue that Byron countered Scott’s efforts both to familiarize the past and to harmonize antagonism by instead defamiliarizing the present and inciting revolution,...
4. POETRY AND PATHOLOGY
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BYRON USES WHAT POWERS OF ENCHANTMENT HE COMMANDS IN his poetry not to bury the past in the past (the mourning work that in Scott reburies the wizard in his tomb even as it rebinds the wizard’s tome against the endless return that is the reading act), but instead uses his enchanter’s wand...
CODA: Tennyson’s Idylls, Pure Poetry, and the Market
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IF POETRY WAS, INDEED, PERCEIVED AS PERVERSE IN THE NINETEENTH century, as we saw in Byron, how exactly does one account for the equally pervasive tendency to represent poetry as an antidote to the ills of a prosaic age, as we saw in Scott? ...
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Page Count: 220
Illustrations: 2 line drawings
Publication Year: 2005