The Reflective Journey Toward Order: Essays on Dante, Wordsworth, Eliot, and Others

Overview


This book embodies a sequence of closely related essays which explore the modern poet's uneasy awareness of a tradition-the romantic tradition-with which he must contend. The author's premise is that the romantic age extends from The Divine Comedy through Wordsworth to Eliot. The roots of contemporary questions about the self and alienation are seen to extend at least as far back as Dante, who is the first poet to choose the ego as a focus for poetry of epic dimensions.

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Overview


This book embodies a sequence of closely related essays which explore the modern poet's uneasy awareness of a tradition-the romantic tradition-with which he must contend. The author's premise is that the romantic age extends from The Divine Comedy through Wordsworth to Eliot. The roots of contemporary questions about the self and alienation are seen to extend at least as far back as Dante, who is the first poet to choose the ego as a focus for poetry of epic dimensions.

In the course of the study Montgomery considers the growing emphasis upon the self's becoming the focus of poetry until this shift culminated in the literature of the most autobiographical century in western letters--the twentieth. Dante, Wordsworth, and Eliot are discussed at length, individually and in relation to one another, as principal instances of the reflective poet. The critic also considers other illustrative figures such as Milton, Coleridge, Keats, Whitman, Pound, Joyce, and Hemingway. These and other writers have traveled along the romantic road anticipated by The Divine Comedy. Finally, the author suggests, the road may end in a labyrinth so far as the contemporary writer is concerned.

In his increasing concern with the problems of the self and of the mind, the poet has been forced to invent new modes and techniques, which as the author demonstrates, grow out of his response to the psychological and metaphysical preoccupations of his age.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The pace of the volume is leisurely, usually pleasantly so, apparently calculated, like a novel, to draw the reader into almost unwitting affirmation, as though we listened to a learned friend talking most thoughtfully."--South Carolina Review

“Finally, Professor Montgomery does a superbly efficient job of proving his thesis. . . . The Reflective Journey goes a long way toward explaining the confusion, the disillusionment, and the obscurity of much of the literature written in English since 1900."--South Atlantic Bulletin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820331973
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Pages: 332
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author


Marion Montgomery is a poet, novelist, and critic who taught English at the University of Georgia for more than thirty years. His most recent books include With Walker Percy at the Tupperware Party: in Company with Flannery O'Connor, T. S. Eliot, and Others and Hillbilly Thomist: Flannery O'Connor, St. Thomas and the Limits of Art, as well as On Matters Southern: Essays About Literature and Culture, 1964-2000.
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