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REVIEWS SOME RECENT STUDIES OF THE ROMANTIC PERIOD' From time to time books are published in which a combination of bold imagination , mature reRection, and punctilious scholarship is expressed with such self-effacing clarity as to be accessible to the common reader. M.H. Abrams's Natural Supernaturalism is one of these. Although it is written in the belief that our age has much to learn from the Romantics, it should be a source of pleasure and stimulation to sceptics and sympathizers alike as well as to many who have not felt obliged to make up their ntinds one way or the other. Natural S"pernaturalism analyzes what is generally called Romanticism without taking its existence for granted. Abrams proposes to specify 'some of the striking parallels, in authorial stance and persona, subject matter, ideas, values, imagery, forms of thought and imagination, and design of plot or structure, which are evident in a number of the prominent poets, post·Kantian philosophers, writers of romances, authors of partly fictional autobiography, and exponents of the related form the Germans call Universalgeschichte - a philosophical scheme of the human past, present, and predictable future - in both England and Germany during that remarkable period of creativity, the three or four decades following the outbreak of the French Revolution.' (pp. 11-12) In choosing Wordsworth as his point of departure, Abrams has a precedent in E.D. Hirsch's Wordsworth and Schelling (1960) - a study of analogues rather than influences. But his choice is significant here not only because Wordsworth is often felt to be peculiarly English, but also because Abrams·M.H. Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature . New York: Norton 1971. Pp. 550. $10.00; Carl Woodring, Politics in English Romantic Poetry. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press 1970. Pp. xvi, 385. $10.00; Harold Bloom, The Ringers in the Tower: Studies in Romantic TTaditiol~. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press 1971. Pp. xii, 352. $12.00; John Speirs, Poetry Towards Novel. London: Faber and Faber 1971. Pp. 336. £3.75; Morris Dickstein, Keats and His Poetry: A Study in Development. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press 1971. Pp. xviii, 270. $9.50; Bhabatosh Chatterjee, John Keats: His Mind and Work. Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, New Delhi: Orient Longman 1971. Pp. xvi, 487; Norman Fruman, Coleridge, The Damaged Archangel. New York: George Brazi1ler 1971. Pp. xxiii, 607. $12.50; Frederick Garber, Wordsworth and. the Poetry of Encounter. Urbana, Chicago , London: University of Illinois Press 1971. Pp. xii, 195. $7.95; Jonathan Wordsworth and Beth Darlington, eds., Bicentenary Wordsworth Studies in Memory of John Alban Finch. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press 1970. Pp. xli, 490. $14.50; Gordon Kent Thomas, Wordsworth's Dirge and Promise: Napoleon, Wellington, and the Conven· tion of Cintra. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1971. Pp. viii, 182. $7.95; Reginald W atters, Coleridge. London: Evans Brothers 1971. Pp. 128. £1.00; John O. Hayden, ed., Romantic Bards and British Reviewers: A Selected Edition of the Contemporary Reviews of the Works of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Keats and Shelley. Lincoln: UniverSity of Nebraska Press 1971. Pp. xix, 433. $20.00. UTQ, Volume XLll, Number 3, Spring 1973 290 J.R. DE J. JACKSON has obviously applied himself to the minutiae of Wordsworthian scholarship, manuscript variants and all, and this application acts as a reliable sheet anchor for his more adventurous speculations. A sense of the scale of Abrams's undertaking can be quickly conveyed by a mere list of the authors he discusses. It would include Blake, Coleridge, Keats, and Carlyle, as well as Wordsworth; Lessing, Kant, Schiller, Schelling, Fichte, Goethe, H6lderlin, and Hegel on the German side; the Bible, Paradise Lost, the Kabbala, St Augustine, Proclus, Plotinus, Erigena, Thomas Burnet, Jacob Boehme, Gerrard Winstanley, and Johann Georg Hamann as instances of the traditions in which the Romantics wrote; and for more recent recurrences of the same themes, Marx, Nietzsche, Proust, T .S. Eliot and D.H. Lawrence. As the title is meant to imply, Natural Supernaturalism centres on 'the secularization of inherited theological ideas and ways of thinking.' Cpo 12) Among the themes considered are the notion of the poet as prophetic voice, the promises and images of apocalypse...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 289-297
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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