Romantic Presences

Romantic Presences

Jeffrey C. Robinson

This book is a set of meditations in prose and poetry on a range of images and topics from the repertoire of early nineteenth-century English poetry and prose. Many of the images are familiar, stock properties of the Romantic tradition—e.g. the skylark, the nightingale, the sigh. Others are not precisely images but historical figures who have gained a mythic status - e.g. “Robert Burns,” “S. T. Coleridge.” And finally, there are images that have no place in the traditional repertoire because they come from women’s writing - e.g. “washing day.” Such “new” elements of Romanticism have been folded in with the old, unobtrusively, in order to create the impression that all implicitly were already there. This book is not intended to be a series of explications of poetry. Instead, images lift themselves out of their formal and functional settings, coming forward in their own right as “presences,” recovering their power for current readers.

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