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The Poetics of Description: Imagined Places in European Literature
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The Poetics of Description: Imagined Places in European Literature

by Janice Hewlett Koelb
 
This book tells a remarkable story that begins in classical antiquity with ecphrasis, the art of describing the world so vividly that the audience could become imaginative eyewitnesses, and the events that caused an ideal of immediacy to be transformed into nearly its opposite, a preoccupation with representation of representation.

Overview

This book tells a remarkable story that begins in classical antiquity with ecphrasis, the art of describing the world so vividly that the audience could become imaginative eyewitnesses, and the events that caused an ideal of immediacy to be transformed into nearly its opposite, a preoccupation with representation of representation.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Essential reading for all Romanticists.[Koelb] has made it impossible for any responsible scholar to talk about ekphrasis in the same way again." - Studies in Romanticism"Koelb's book is striking for the extraordinary depth and range with which her thesis is sustained. Her work demonstrates a command of literary history and critical commentary reminiscent of an E.R. Curtius, a C.S. Lewis, or an Owen Barfield. In a day when much literary discourse seems to exist in a self-imposed vacuum, Koelb's approach is indeed original, even radical." - Paul T Piehler, Department of English, McGill University

"The Poetics of Description is sure to shift the direction of poetic criticism for years to come. Koelb demonstrates how romantic nature poetry derives from classical descriptive verse, a connection obscured for the past half century by misunderstandings of the term ecphrasis. Koelb's findings compel critical reassessment of major romantic poems while providing a theoretical foundation for revisionary studies into every variety of descriptive poetry." - Karl Kroeber, Mellon Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University

"This wonderful book traces the topic of ecphrasis, primarily as description of places, from its roots in Homer and Greek rhetoric, through Vergil, Quintilian, and Milton, to the British Romantics Wordsworth and Byron. Koelb not only shows why her view of ecphrasis is historically justified, but why it matters for interpreting the works in which such descriptions are embedded. The book masterfully ranges from insights into small, easily overlooked details (as in Vergil's description of the harbor at Carthage) to issues of major theoretical importance. This is a fundamentally important work that expands and deepens our understanding of "the imagined place" in European literature." - William H. Race, Paddison Professor of Classics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781403974891
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan US
Publication date:
06/08/2007
Edition description:
2006
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.02(d)

Meet the Author

Janice Hewlett Koelb received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she specialized in classical Latin and British Romantic literature. Today she is an independent scholar in Chapel Hill.

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