Wordsworth's Pope: A Study in Literary Historiography

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Recent studies of Romanticism have neglected to examine the ways in which Romanticism defined itself by reconfiguring its literary past. Robert J. Griffin identifies the genesis of a Romantic narrative of literary history in which Alexander Pope figured as an alien poet of reason and imitation, and traces the transmission of "romantic literary history" from the Wartons to M. H. Abrams. In so doing, he calls into question some of our most basic assumptions about the chronological and conceptual boundaries of Romanticism.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Griffen succeeds in identifying the ambivalent rejection of Pope as an important constitutive move in the development of 'romanticism'....Moreover, this book contributes to the growing and healthful critical self-consciousness in romantic studies, which is opening it up to its canonical Others--Pope, pre-romantics, women writers, and so on." Studies in Romanticism

"Griffin's is a remarkable and exciting book. And it is a good thing that it appears in Cambridge's series, Studies in Romanticism: its argument is one that eighteenth-century scholars should not keep to themselves." Douglas Lane Patey, Eighteenth Century Studies

"This study offers a focused reconsideration of the 'anxiety of influence' and provides an alternative, critical model of literary history that challenges teleological, evolutionary 'classic-to-romantic' accounts. ...powerful reexamination of inherited 'romantic' (or uncritically Wordsworthian) histories, as well as current historicist treatments that do not engage a sufficiently diachronic view of this period's formation. Its additional merits include several well-researched forays into Pope's presence in polite culture and educational settings of the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.... Also worth noting are some dispersed observations on the inherent artifices of what the romantics proclaimed to be 'natural' poetic diction and form." William Levine, Modern Philology

"Griffin has written an excellent first book. It is learned and thoughtful, bold and far-reaching in its many subsidiary claims...." Adam Potkay, The Wordsworth Circle

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521481717
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Romanticism Series, #17
  • Pages: 202
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The eighteenth-century construction of Romanticism; 2. Refinement, Romanticism, Francis Jeffrey; 3. Wordsworth's Pope; 4. Mirror and lamp; Conclusion, with thoughts on method in literary historiography; Notes; Bibliography.
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