The Meaning of Life in Romantic Poetry and Poetics
By Ross Wilson
Routledge – 2009 – 198 pages
Series: Routledge Studies in Romanticism
This volume brings together an impressive range of established and emerging scholars to investigate the meaning of ‘life’ in Romantic poetry and poetics. This investigation involves sustained attention to a set of challenging questions at the heart of British Romantic poetic practice and theory. Is poetry alive for the Romantic poets? If so, how? Does ‘life’ always mean ‘life’? In a range of essays from a variety of complementary perspectives, a number of major Romantic poets are examined in detail. The fate of Romantic conceptions of ‘life’ in later poetry also receives attention. Through, for examples, a revision of Blake’s relationship to so-called rationalism, a renewed examination of Wordsworth’s fascination with country graveyards, an exploration of Shelley’s concept of survival, and a discussion of the notions of ‘life’ in Byron, Kierkegaard, and Mozart, this volume opens up new and exciting terrain in Romantic poetry’s relation to literary theory, the history of philosophy, ethics, and aesthetics.
Introduction Ross Wilson Chapter 1: Blake’s Spiritual Body Simon Jarvis Chapter 2: Gray, Wordsworth, and the Poetry of Ordinary Life Stefan H. Uhlig Chapter 3: Wordsworth and the Life of a Subject Richard Eldridge Chapter 4: The Romantic Life of the Self Paul Hamilton Chapter 5: Fragments of an Interrupted Life: Keats, Blanchot, and the Gift of Death David Ferris Chapter 6: Poetry as Reanimation in Shelley Ross Wilson Chapter 7: The Profligate Catalogue: Don Juan, Don Giovanni, and the Reproduction of Life Corinna Russell Chapter 8: Afternach: Life’s Posthumous Life in Later-Modernist American Poetry Robert Kaufman
Ross Wilson is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge. His works Subjective Universality in Kant’s Aesthetics (Lang) and Theodor Adorno (Routledge) appeared in 2007.