By M. H. Abrams
This hugely acclaimed quantity includes thirty essays by means of such major literary critics as A.O. Lovejoy, Lionel Trilling, C.S. Lewis, F.R. Leavis, Northrop Frye, Harold Bloom, Geoffrey Hartman, Jonathan Wordsworth, and Jack Stillinger. protecting the key poems via all of the vital Romantic poets, the individuals current many major views in smooth criticism--old and new, discursive and explicative, mimetic and rhetorical, literal and legendary, archetypal and phenomenological, seasoned and con.
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Additional resources for English Romantic Poets: Modern Essays in Criticism
Whate'er the cause, upon thy banks I bend Sorrowing, yet feel such solace at my heart, As at the meeting of some long-lost friend, From whom, in happier hours, we wept to part. Here is an emotive expression which once appealed to the sensibility of its author and of his more cultivated contemporaries, but which has 27 ENGLISH BOMANTIG POETS with the lapse of time gone flat. The speaker was happy as a boy by the banks of the river, Age has brought disillusion and the dispersal of his friends. So a return to the river, in reminding him of the past, brings both sorrow and consolation.
That the poem was grounded in experience is evident from Coleridge's many letters testifying to his delight in wind and storms, which he watched 'with a total feeling worshipping the power and "eternal Link" of Energy," and through which he had walked, "stricken . . with barreness* in a "deeper dejection than I am willing to remember," seeking the inspiration for completing Christabel,* In one passage, written some nine months after he had completed Dejection, we find a symbolic wind again involving the revival of feeling and imagination, and leading to the sense of the one life within us and abroad: In simple earnest, I never find myself alone within the embracement of rocks and hills, a traveller up an alpine road, but my spirit courses, drives, and eddies, like a Leaf in Autumn: a wild activity, of thoughts, imagination, feelings, and impulses of motion, rises up from within me— a sort of bottom-wind, that blows to no point of the compass, and comes from I know not whence, but agitates the whole of me.
Wordsworth's 'Prelude,* from the cliff that "upreared its head' in the night above Ullswater to the "blue chasm' that was the 'soul* of the moonlit cloudscape beneath his feet on Snowdon, is the archpoet's testament, both theory and demonstration of this way of reading nature. His "Tintern Abbey' is another classic instance, a whole pantheistic poem woven of the landscape, where God is not once mentioned. After the 'soft inland murmur,' the "one green hue,' the "wreaths of smoke . . as ... Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods' (always something just out of sight or beyond definition), it is an easy leap to the "still, sad music of humanity,' and a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused.