The Regenerate Lyric: Theology and Innovation in American Poetry

The Regenerate Lyric: Theology and Innovation in American Poetry

by Elisa New

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Overview

The Regenerate Lyric: Theology and Innovation in American Poetry by Elisa New

In her book The Regenerate Lyric, Elisa New presents a major revision of the accepted historical account of Emerson as the source of the American poetic tradition. New challenges the majority opinion that Emerson not only overthrew New England religious orthodoxy but founded a poetic tradition that fundamentally renounced that orthodoxy in favor of a secular, Romantic approach. She contends that Emerson's reinvention of the religion as a species of poetry is tested and found wanting by the very poetic innovators whom Emerson addressed and that a counter-tradition is evident in his major heirs--Whitman, Dickinson, Crane, Stevens, Frost, and Lowell. Indeed, Emerson's own poetry failed in many ways to live up to his views and instead revealed an inherent paradox: that coopting of religion by a poetic theory alienates religion from its life principle--theology--and disables the poem as well.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521107310
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 04/02/2009
Series: Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture Series , #64
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 292
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author


Elisa New is professor of English and American literature and language at Harvard University. She is the author of The Line’s Eye and The Regenerate Lyric. She lives with her husband, economist Larry Summers, in Brookline, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.

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