Organising Poetry: The Coleridge Circle, 1790-1798

Hardcover | July 15, 2009

byDavid Fairer

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In this revisionary study of the poetry of Coleridge, Wordsworth and their friends during the 'revolutionary decade' David Fairer questions the accepted literary history of the period and the critical vocabulary we use to discuss it. The book examines why, at a time of radical upheaval whencontinuities of all kinds (personal, political, social, and cultural) were being challenged, this group of poets explored themes of inheritance, retrospect, revisiting, and recovery. Organising Poetry charts their struggles to find meaning not through vision and symbol but from connection anddialogue. By placing these poets in the context of an eighteenth-century 'organic' tradition, Fairer moves the emphasis away from the language of idealist 'Romantic' theory towards an empirical stress on how identities are developed and sustained through time. Locke's concept of personal identity asa continued organisation 'partaking of one common life' offered not only a model for a reformed constitution but a way of thinking about the self, art and friendship, which these poets found valuable. In this context of a need to organise diversity and give it meaning, the book offers originalreadings of some well known poems of the 1790s, including Wordsworth's 'Tintern Abbey' and 'The Ruined Cottage', and Coleridge's conversation poems 'The Eolian Harp', 'This Lime-Tree Bower', and 'Frost at Midnight'. Organising Poetry represents an important contribution to current critical debatesabout the nature of poetic creativity during this period and the need to recognise its more communal and collaborative aspects.

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In this revisionary study of the poetry of Coleridge, Wordsworth and their friends during the 'revolutionary decade' David Fairer questions the accepted literary history of the period and the critical vocabulary we use to discuss it. The book examines why, at a time of radical upheaval whencontinuities of all kinds (personal, political...

David Fairer is Professor of Eighteenth-Century English Literature at the University of Leeds. His most recent book is iEnglish Poetry of the Eighteenth Century, 1700-1789/i (Longman, 2003). He is also the author of iPope's Imagination/i (1984), iThe Poetry of Alexander Pope/i (1989), and editor of iPope: New Contexts/i (1990), iThe C...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:July 15, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199296162

ISBN - 13:9780199296163

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Table of Contents

Introduction: 'one common life'I1. Organicism: The Idealist Tradition2. Organic Constitutions: Identity3. Organic Constitutions: HistoryII4. 'Sweet native stream!': Approaching Tintern Abbey5. Southey's Literary History: Poetry in Retrospect6. Between Youth and Age: Coleridge's iMonody on the Death of Chatterton/i, 1790-67. Putting his Poems Together: Coleridge's First Volume (1796)8. Coleridge's Sonnets from Various Authors (1796): A Lost Conversation Poem?9. Organising Friendship: Coleridge, Lamb, and Lloyd10. A Matter of Emphasis: Coleridge and Thelwall, 1796-711. Returning to the Ruined Cottage12. 'Look homeward Angel now': Prospects and Fears in 1798PostscriptBibliographyIndex