Majestic Indolence: English Romantic Poetry and the Work of Art

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Oxford University Press, 15.06.1995 - 240 Seiten
Spiegelman examines the theme of indolence-- both positive and negative--as it appears in the canonical work of four Romantic poets. He argues for a renewal of interest in literary formalism, aesthetics, and the pastoral genre. Wordsworth's "wise passiveness," Coleridge's "dejection" and torpor, Shelley's pastoral dolce far niente, and Keats's "delicious...indolence" are seen as individual manifestations of a common theme. Spiegelman argues that the trope of indolence originated in the religious, philosophical, psychological, and economic discourses from the middle ages to the late eighteenth century. In particular, the years surrounding the French revolution are marked by the rich variety of experiments conducted by these poets on this topic. Countering recent politically/ideologically motivated literary theory, Spiegelman looks, instead, at how the poems work. He argues for aesthetic appreciation and critique, which, he feels, the Romantic pastoral begs for in its celebration of nature and the sublime. The book concludes with Spiegelman following the Romantic legacy and its transformation into America (in the form of Whitman), and, further, into the twentieth century (in Frost's poems).

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Inhalt

The Progress of a Trope
3
2 Wordsworth at Work and Play
21
3 Coleridge and Dejection
58
4 Keatss Figures of Indolence
83
Shelleys Versions of Pastoral
108
6 Our American Cousins
142
Shelleys Last Lyrics
161
The Text of Coleridges Dejection An Ode
171
Notes
177
Index
213
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Seite 83 - And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease; For Summer has o'erbrimm'd their clammy cells. Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, Drows'd with the fume...
Seite 140 - The breath whose might I have invoked in song Descends on me; my spirit's bark is driven, Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng Whose sails were never to the tempest given; The massy earth and sphered skies are riven! I am borne darkly, fearfully, afar; Whilst burning through the inmost veil of Heaven, The soul of Adonais, like a star, Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.
Seite 106 - She dwells with Beauty— Beauty that must die; And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips Bidding adieu...
Seite 174 - For not to think of what I needs must feel, But to be still and patient, all I can; And haply by abstruse research to steal From my own nature all the natural man This was my sole resource, my only plan: Till that which suits a part infects the whole, And now is almost grown the habit of my soul.
Seite 43 - mid work of his own hand he lies, Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses, With light upon him from his father's eyes...
Seite 175 - May all the stars hang bright above her dwelling, Silent as though they watched the sleeping Earth! With light heart may she rise, Gay fancy, cheerful eyes, Joy lift her spirit, joy attune her voice; To her may all things live, from pole to pole, Their life the eddying of her living soul!
Seite 172 - O Lady! we receive but what we give And in our life alone does Nature live: Ours is her wedding garment, ours her shroud! And would we aught behold of higher worth, Than that inanimate cold world allowed To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd, Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud Enveloping the Earth...
Seite 41 - Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood, In which the burthen of the mystery. In which the heavy and the weary weight Of all this unintelligible world, Is lightened— that serene and blessed mood In which the affections gently lead us on— Until, the breath of this corporeal frame And even the motion of our human blood Almost suspended, we are laid asleep In body, and become a living soul...

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