Poetry of Attention in the Eighteenth Century

Overview

Poetry of Attention in the Eighteenth Century identifies a pervasive cultivation of attention in eighteenth-century poetry. The book argues that a plea from a 1692 ode by William Congreve–'Let me be all, but my attention, dead'–embodies a wider aspiration in the period's poetry to explore overt themes of attention and demonstrate techniques of readerly attention. It historicizes eighteenth-century accounts of attention and pioneers a link between the period's poetry and recent discussions of attention in ...

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Poetry of Attention in the Eighteenth Century

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Overview

Poetry of Attention in the Eighteenth Century identifies a pervasive cultivation of attention in eighteenth-century poetry. The book argues that a plea from a 1692 ode by William Congreve–'Let me be all, but my attention, dead'–embodies a wider aspiration in the period's poetry to explore overt themes of attention and demonstrate techniques of readerly attention. It historicizes eighteenth-century accounts of attention and pioneers a link between the period's poetry and recent discussions of attention in cognitive psychology. It contributes to the largely neglected history of a psychological trait that has assumed a recent cultural urgency, and it repositions eighteenth-century poems as a collective model for assiduous reading and supple, wide-ranging attention.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137031129
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 11/27/2012
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Koehler is an associate professor of English at Otterbein University in Westerville, OH. She has published essays in Modern Philology, Studies in English Literature, and Blackwell's A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Poetry.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: 'Let me be all, but my attention, dead'
History and Theory of Attention in the Eighteenth Century
The Filter of Attention and Indissoluble Attractors in Eighteenth-Century Mock-Heroic Poetry
Multiple Sensory Modalities of Attention
Landscape Poetry I: The Discovery of Receptivity
Landscape Poetry II: The Practice of Receptivity
Cowper's Task of Attention
Odes of Absorption
'Attention is everywhere'

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