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Poetry and Politics in the Cockney School: Keats, Shelley, Hunt, and Their Circle

Overview

Jeffrey N. Cox refines our conception of "second generation" Romanticism by placing it within the circle of writers around Leigh Hunt that came to be known as the "Cockney School." Cox challenges the traditional image of the Romantic poet as an isolated figure by recreating the social nature of the work of Shelley, Keats, Hunt, Hazlitt, Byron, and others. This book not only demonstrates convincingly that a "Cockney School" existed, but shows that it was committed to putting literature in the service of social, ...

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Overview

Jeffrey N. Cox refines our conception of "second generation" Romanticism by placing it within the circle of writers around Leigh Hunt that came to be known as the "Cockney School." Cox challenges the traditional image of the Romantic poet as an isolated figure by recreating the social nature of the work of Shelley, Keats, Hunt, Hazlitt, Byron, and others. This book not only demonstrates convincingly that a "Cockney School" existed, but shows that it was committed to putting literature in the service of social, cultural, and political reform.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This first detailed investigation of a unique literary group is warmly recommended to serious students of Romanticism." Choice

"Poetry and Politics in the Cockney School is,., a groundbreaking study of the relationships, ideological commitments, and cultural productions of the second generation of English Romantics. Cox's book helps us to reassess Leigh Hunt's achievements as poet, editor, and the leader of one of the most important coteries in literary history." William D. Brewer, South Atlantic Review

"...meticulously researched and beautifully written,...[Poetry and Politics in the Cockney School] intergrates the culture of the late-Romantic writers clearly and concretely into the social and political history of the late Romantic period...a wonderful book." European Romantic Review

"Cox's introductory dismantling of the "Cockney School" polemic is thorough and persuasive...This is primary scholarship at its best..." Linda Dowling, Studies in English Literature

"Cox makes an impressive and...successful attempt to present the Hunt circle as 'a site for cultural production'..." Robert M. Ryan, The Wordsworth Circle

"...thorough and persuasive. This is a primary scholarship at its best, giving even to such routine acivities as manuscript circulation the purpose, as Cox says in a moment of typical eloquence, of creating "on the page for the reader the generosity, the camaraderie, the collective inquiry, the communal celebration of life that the group offered as the ground for a new society" (p. 81)." SEL

"Cox's well informed and instructive study of Hunt's "Cockney" circle, its writing,life,and times, tells an important story about romantic sociability and collective enterprise. Theresa M. Kelley South Centeral Review

John Bayley
Investigative criticism of any poetic background, and that of the Romantics in particular, can do an important job, and Jeffrey Cox's study is a good example of what can be done....[S]ome zealous critics see a covert political message lurking in every heartfelt Romantic line....What Cox seems to be saying here is that poetry should be studied as an exercise in sociological inquiry. —London Review of Books
Jeffrey N. Cox
Cox rejects the supposed myth of solitary genius, preferring to define individuals as "part of collective practices". Whereas critics once thought they were doing Shelley, Byron and Keats a favour by dissociating them from Hunt, Cox seeks to "decentre our standard notions of the second generation of Romantics by insisting that we read them as a group", engaged in a "communal project", at the heart of which is an oppositional, libertarian politics. Among his more original perceptions is the point that "manuscript circulation" between members of the circle creates an equivalent to the "coterie writing" explored by recent seventeenth-century scholars.
John Bayley
Investigative criticism of any poetic background, and that of the Romantics in particular, can do an important job, and Jeffrey Cox's study is a good example of what can be done....[S]ome zealous critics see a covert political message lurking in every heartfelt Romantic line....What Cox seems to be saying here is that poetry should be studied as an exercise in sociological inquiry.
London Review of Books
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521631006
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2013
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Romanticism Series , #31
  • Pages: 278
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; or, the visionary company, INC.; 1. The 'Cockney School' attacks: or the anti-romantic ideology; 2. The Hunt era; 3. John Keats, coterie poet; 4. Staging hope: genre, myth and ideology in the dramas of the Hunt circle; 5. Cockney classicism: history with footnotes; 6. Final reckonings: Keats and Shelley on the wealth of the imagination.

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