In this Book

The Ohio State University Press
Lake Methodism: Polite Literature and Popular Religion in England, 1780–1830, reveals the traffic between Romanticism’s rhetorics of privilege and the most socially toxic religious forms of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The “Lake Poets,” of whom William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge are the most famous, are often seen as crafters of a poetics of spontaneous inspiration, transcendent imagination, and visionary prophecy, couched within lexicons of experimental simplicity and lyrical concision. But, as Jasper Cragwall argues, such postures and principles were in fact received as the vulgarities of popular Methodism, an insurgent religious movement whose autobiographies, songs, and sermons reached sales figures of which the Lakers could only dream. With these religious histories, Lake Methodism unsettles canonical Romanticism, reading, for example, the grand declaration opening Wordsworth’s spiritual autobiography—“to the open fields I told a prophecy”—not as poetic self-sanctification, but as awkward Methodism, responsible for the suppression of The Prelude for half a century. The book measures this fearful symmetry between Romantic and religious enthusiasms in figures iconic and unfamiliar: John Wesley, Robert Southey, Wordsworth, Coleridge, as well as the eponymous scientist of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and even Joanna Southcott, an illiterate servant turned latter-day Virgin Mary, who, at the age of sixty-five, mistook a fatal dropsy for the Second Coming of Christ (and so captivated a nation).

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
  3. open access Download |
  1. Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. 2-6
  3. open access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. viii-7
  3. open access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
  3. open access Download |
  1. 1. Introduction: "Lake Methodism" and the Lows of High Argument
  2. pp. 1-32
  3. open access Download |
  1. 2. "Elocution to the Mute:" Anglican Authority and the Cultural Revolt of Methodism
  2. pp. 33-76
  3. open access Download |
  1. 3. Wordsworth and the Ragged Legion: Poets, Priests, and Preachers
  2. pp. 77-111
  3. open access Download |
  1. 4. Sage or Sibyl?: A Lay Sermon
  2. pp. 112-149
  3. open access Download |
  1. 5. Joanna Southcott's Body, and the Posthumous Life of Romantic Prophecy
  2. pp. 150-183
  3. open access Download |
  1. 6. Resurrection, the New Birth, and Vital Christianity: The Methodism to Frankenstein's Madness
  2. pp. 184-224
  3. open access Download |
  1. Postscript
  2. pp. 225-228
  3. open access Download |
  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 229-245
  3. open access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 247-251
  3. open access Download |
  1. About the Series, Other Works in the Series, Back Cover
  2. pp. 252-261
  3. open access Download |

Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.