Strange Power of Speech: Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Literary Possession

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This book explores the relationship between tropes of literary property and signification in the writings and literary politics of Wordsworth and Coleridge. Eilenberg argues that a complex of ideas about property, propriety, and possession sets the terms for the two writers' mutually revisionary efforts and informs the images of literary authority, textual identity, and poetic figuration evident in their major works. Eilenberg's readings of the collaboration and its principle texts bring to bear a combination of deconstructive, psychoanalytic, and both new and literary historical methods. The book provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between two of the major figures of English Romanticism as well as fresh insight into what is at stake in the analogy between the verbal and the material or the literary and the economic.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A work that is stimulating, articulate, and theoretically sophisticated without being precious or needlessly obscure. Strange Power of Speech offers a fresh and challenging approach to the old problem of the whys and wherefores of the collaboration between Wordsworth and Coleridge."—South Atlantic Review

"Her discussion is laid out across a wide and imaginative range....This is a demanding, conceptually exciting book."—Choice

"Eilenberg writes intelligently and persuasively about Wordsworth's and Coleridge's differing attitudes to language, property, possession, originality, authority....The arguments...are complex, subtle, learned, and powerfully expressed (in language largely free of jargon)."—English Literature

"One of those rare works that is at once brilliantly articulated in detail and powerful in its implications for literary studies....Eilenberg's work will take its place at the head of many recent works on intertextual, dialogic, or collaborative creation....It will stand out not simply as a masterful application of theories previously existing, but as a work which breaks new ground and sets a new agenda."—Paul A. Magnuson, New York University

"Although a great deal has been written about the personal and literary relationship between Coleridge and Wordsworth, the lexicon and much of the material that Eilenberg brings over to the subjects are found to be irresistibly useful....What makes Strange Power of Speech profitable to read is its easy intelligence and lively style. That it does not pay homage to one critical ideology or another is to its credit. You can actually get a sense of Wordsworth and Coleridge both as writers and persons in this book....I am enriched to have this book as my property while being possessed by it."—ANQ

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195068566
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/1992
  • Pages: 302
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

State University of New York, Buffalo
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Table of Contents

Frequently Cited Texts xxi
I The Lyrical Ballads: Imagination's Entitlement
1 The Propriety of the Lyrical Ballads 3
2 Voice and Ventriloquy in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner 31
3 The Poetry of Property 60
4 "Michael," "Christabel," and the Poetry of Possession 87
5 The Haunted Language of the Lucy Poems 108
II Afterwards: Imaginations in Division
6 The Heterogeneity of the Biographia Literaria 139
7 The Impropriety of the Imagination 168
8 Mortal Pages: Wordsworth and the Reform of Copyright 192
Conclusion 213
Notes 217
Index 269
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2014


    The blind elder slowly found his way in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2014


    Great starclan i cant wait till we have apprentices. She mumbles s she removes the tick.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2014

    "Run along now, l want to take a nap," she grumbled.

    &eta<_>ame: Mousetail<br>&alpha<_>ge: 101 moons (roughly 10 years)<br>Mate//Crush//Kits: l'm too busy napping! Ain't nobody got time for dat.<br>&real<_>ank: Elder. What do you take me as, a warrior at my age?<br>Persona: Bite my nose. I dare you.<br>&alpha<_>ppearance: Light gray, nose is a bright pink like a mouse, tail is skinny like a mouse, obviously not na<_>ked like a rat's.<p> Shoo! I have no more time for you. I've only had six naps today. It's unhealthy, l tell you. (You then hear loud snoring noises as she lays down and immediately goes to sleep.)<p> "What in blazes name... I HAVE A TICK IN MY FUR! GREAT STARCLAN I'M GONNA DIE!"<p> |~A production by the roleplayer Ferns~|

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