Stuart Peterfreund. Tom Duggett. Larry Peer. Marie Drews. Diego Saglia. Scott Krawczyk. Peter Swaab. Lenore Penner. Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide. Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Description Known as the daughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sara Coleridge's manuscripts, letters, and other writings reveal an original thinker in dialogue with major literary and cultural figures of nineteenth-century England.
Here, her writings on beauty, education, and faith uncover aspects of Romantic and Victorian literature, philosophy, and theology. Product details Format Hardback pages Dimensions x x Illustrations note XIX, p. Other books in this series. Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism A. Add to basket. Coleridge and the Daemonic Imagination Gregory Leadbetter. This absence overloads the significance of textual presence, but Byron seems singularly unanxious about this kind of remembering.
His imitation of it was also a critique. Emily A. The combination of comedy and vision permits forgiveness Southey gets off, and George III slips into heaven without quite giving in to his adversaries. Susan M. John J. Webb focuses on a letter to Thomas Moore of June For Byron, reality and poetry are always entangled, and the letter was one of the forms in which he best explored that entangling. His endeavours were a success he found her Venetian love letters , but his efforts were not taken up by scholars until The Case of Don Juan.
Cantos VI. Byron edited proofs based on the cheaper octodecimo version, but modern editors have typically based editions on the more expensive octavo. The prisoner does not change his world, but he changes his perception of it. In this, Byron draws on the ironic subjectivity he would later expand on in Don Juan. Ellis considers a range of theorists of humour, notably Henri Bergson, and considers the extent to which Byronic humour can be approximated to it. Epiphanies share much with dreams, and for Bidney this makes the tools of psychology especially useful.
Daniel J. Ravenna, where Byron lived, had associations with Virgil, Dante, and Dryden, all of whom, like Byron, wrote in exile. Byron builds on this to present his poetry as a means to furthering a vision of political reform. Missed last year, J. In a thoughtful and often provocative discussion, Hubbell claims that Byron sees a necessary interconnection between natural and built environments in Greece, and that the Mediterranean is itself one larger ecosystem. Hubbell challenges conventional ecocriticism to claim the significance of the way Byron conceives of human—environment relations.
Studies of John Clare have been especially rich in recent years, and this year a number of articles and chapters continued that work. It is more common to think of Clare describing with especial clarity the small things of a world known intimately to him, but Wilson joins with a number of recent critics in considering the element of literary distance which joins with this perspective. Clare, as McAlpine finely suggests, wonders at a nature he does not presume to know. Bewell shows that an experience of vanished nature, or nature changed utterly, was a common experience in colonial contexts and elsewhere.
Clare is an unhappy laureate for such people. John Keats and John Clare did not meet, but they shared the same literary circles through their publisher John Taylor. Clare approved of monarchy, but was not always so keen on individual monarchs. It builds on his checklist of work from to published in earlier issues of the same journal.
Blythe has been the president of the John Clare Society for thirty years, and the volume collects his presidential addresses. Blythe generously acknowledges the many recent critical approaches to Clare, but his focus is on the landscape of Helpston and the poetry which so carefully describes it. It is a thoroughly enjoyable collection of essays that will give great pleasure to those whom Clare has marked out for attention.
His argument builds from a notebook entry which worries over the daemonic experiences Coleridge had. The transnatural, Coleridge discovers, comes from within as a form of willed transition that permits an encounter with, simultaneously, shame and power. The openness of this position allows Leadbetter to offer us a Coleridge far more fluid in his religious and philosophical thinking than is common. The combination of activity and passivity in the daemonic makes clear the link with the Coleridgean imagination. The usual reading of Christabel has Christabel as innocent and opposed to the evil Geraldine.
Leadbetter writes fluidly and clearly, but his style also bristles with excitement. This is a thoughtful, imaginative, and often daring new account of the poet. Coleridge, Language and the Sublime: From Transcendence to Finitude by Christopher Stokes builds on recent efforts to offer a version of Coleridge which combines the grand Romantic idealist and the dejected wreck whom Carlyle glimpsed at Highgate.
The most important figure for these relations is the sublime. Stokes follows Seamus Perry in seeing Coleridge as essentially, though creatively, doubled, or even muddled. If this sounds like deconstruction, that is intentional. That conversational history, from Longinus, Burke, and Kant through Coleridge and up to Derrida and Lyotard is, for Stokes, a conversation about the relation between the sublime and the finite. Stokes does a fine job of tracing this tradition in clear and jargon-free language.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner differs from Burkean pleasing terror because the object of terror is within: for Stokes the poem draws on Christian original sin without offering a redemptive Christian unity. Stokes does not seek to characterize Coleridge as an atheist, but he does claim he is much more sceptical than his critics have realized.
If Coleridge is original because he is unlike Wordsworth, or unoriginal because he stole all his ideas from Schelling, then that supposes a definition of self as much as authorship. Toor considers where Coleridge learned about alchemy from, including discussions of Humphry Davy and Ralph Cudworth, and looks afresh at his connections with continental philosophy. But the Coleridgean imagination demands just such devotion, and Toor is a fine disciple.
He failed to complete his Opus Maximum , and the very attempt seems to suggest the combination of authoritarianism and mysticism that, for some, makes the Sage of Highgate so unappealing. In order to explore this vision it is necessary, as it usually is with Coleridge, to understand his entire intellectual system, scattered as it is across notebooks, lectures, marginalia, and fragments. This is a theological process, but it is by its nature being symbolic literary. His most important point, though, is that this approach ought to be applied to contemporary theology and, indeed, other forms of critical discourse.
It is safe to say that such a project will not have universal appeal. The Coleridge Bulletin published a cluster of essays on Biographia Literaria , all of which touched on his poetics. Perception is not, for Coleridge, passive. Sara wrote a long introduction which defended the work from charges of plagiarism and explained his philosophical vision to the Victorian age.
Stokes surveys the critical history of a common anxiety concerning the poem: whether it possesses a moral order, or whether it submits to irrationality. Esterhammer sets it in the context of the interest in and anxiety about improvvisatore in the s. Esterhammer shows how it expresses concerns about the status of poetry in a commercialized literary culture.
Coleridge was not the only one clambering up mountains looking for insight. In a fascinating discussion, Fulford tells us many things about rocks, amongst them that it was a labouring woman, Mary Anning, who found more fossils than anyone. Harvey details how his thought, especially his organicism, was adopted by Marsh and Dewey in Vermont. Devin S. It is common to see Darwin as a poetic failure, but Griffiths offers a fascinating and compelling account of his understanding of analogy as a crucial link between literature and science.
Amusingly, and perhaps aptly, it has often been attributed to Darwin. It is, as Faubert demonstrates, an often brilliant parody which critiques Darwin for promoting the wrong kind of naturalness. Everyone knows Hemans was one of the most popular poets in the nineteenth century, but critics are still not sure why. Reading was not only internal: it involved communal recitation, annotation, and discussion. Sussman begins by noting the strange absence of children in her poems about the New World. It is strange because she might have been expected to have posed the location as a source of new life, rather than as an end of lineages.
Hemans saw the link between the preserved image and the nature of poetic creation. Bridges claims, convincingly, that Hemans also saw fragmentary historical ruins as essentially feminine. Leigh Hunt achieved early fame through the publication of his schoolboy poetry. It has been treated as a curiosity, but Langbauer shows that he was writing in a complex tradition of masculine juvenile writing.
The book would provide an ideal introduction to the poet for any undergraduate student, but it also offers significant and original interpretations of his work. White tells this story lightly without being superficial. This is a helpful, insightful, elegantly written account of the poet and his poetry. Transatlantic literary studies have generated considerable interest in recent years, so this treatment is promising.
Gigante does not aspire to give us much that is new about John, but she does help reframe the way we see the existing facts. The Keats Brothers offers its own imaginative community. The writing is grounded in solid research, but loose and even novelistic in manner. It is a fascinating tale, and a valuable contribution to studies of transatlantic Romanticism. Laurence M. The family, he shows, became progressively middle-class and spread to Spain, Australia, and California and back to London.
The issue returns to the ground opened up by a issue of the journal. Keats often fails: Hyperion , for example, is an epic which breaks down into a fragmentary series of lyrics. This suggests, for Mulrooney, the way Keats confronts those affective experiences that cannot be contained by pre-existing narrative forms. This confrontation is also his way of thinking through new modes of social being.
If this is the case, Keats seems apolitical. The effect, for Ostas, in a reading of The Eve of St Agnes , is a poetics in which readers are invited to share in a communal poetic and political experience. Keats, for McGrath, characteristically creates moments of beginning, when new possibilities can be glimpsed, rather than final or ended statements. The importance of bodily sensation has become a vital topic in contemporary culture and theory.
This piece is more suggestive, but none the less compelling for it. For the knight the experience is enigmatic, but this feeling is transferred to readers, for whom the experience of reading about the knight is enigmatic. Farnell surveys a range of responses, variously formalist, New Historicist, and poststructuralist, which all come to much this conclusion. The solution lies, for Farnell, drawing chiefly on Jacques Lacan, in recognizing that the poem enacts a performance of mystery.
Von Pfahl sees the concept as important for its ability to transcend any particular critical frame. In a very thorough discussion, she claims it has an importance that transcends time itself. Both faced similar conservative criticism of their dangerously loose, sexualized verse, but both use apparently fantastical imagery which has political resonances.
Keats was often painfully conscious that the letter acknowledges a physical gap it attempts to bridge. That insight, for Thomas, plays into a poetics which values physical connection and sees writing as essentially interactive. Lacey places these representations in a tradition of bird poetry, including Sidney, Marvell, and Milton. But birds are not only fluttering beauties. Rather, they represent for Keats the capacity of poetry to soar above the natural world.
Refreshingly, she puts some meat on the bones of inspiration. Instead, Keats and others saw inspiration as best figured with reference to eating and drinking. The article is an addition to studies of the history of interpretations of Keats, and an important intervention in historical understandings of apparently ahistorical theory.
Hers is an especially material Keats. Tontiplaphol places Keats in the context of contemporary consumerism, especially the experience of metropolitan shops, but the study is also pointedly formalist. Charles Lamb has received much recent attention as a prose writer, but relatively little as a poet. Lamb himself often professed something like embarrassment about poems which seemed unable to escape the moment of their production. Stewart claims, through a series of close readings, that the poems are often remarkably self-aware and carefully formed.
As Lamb himself commented, there is something strange about publishing album verses, because album verses belong in the album of the individual for whom they were written. The death of Letitia Elizabeth Landon she died mysteriously in West Africa has tended to play into the poetic myths she and her publishers propagated. She was a poetical soul too good for this world, and her death had the air of Gothic drama: was she poisoned by her villainous new husband, the colonialist George Maclean? Did he drive her to suicide? Landon was a star who worked very hard to maintain a reputation.
George Maclean, Watt claims, was much the same: hard-working, talented, unconventional, daring, and extraordinarily effective if not, certainly, a star. Maclean worked to end slave trading on over miles of the West African coast, made peace with the Asante, and introduced a judicial system that continues to be used in Ghana and elsewhere. Watt writes briskly and insightfully. Her death was more conventional than her fans may have liked: Watt shows that her symptoms indicate she died of a seizure brought on by Stokes-Adams Syndrome.
It is a great story, and perhaps unlike the legend , all the more interesting for being true. Landon is usually considered an aspect of a commercialized culture gone wrong. But, as Wallace notes, she is much too self-conscious for this. Instead, her poems can be read as rather wearied commentaries on the commercialization of the classics. Poets from Yeats onwards have tended to dismiss him as a coy sentimentalist.
For Heaney, who has not been influenced directly by Moore, Moore nonetheless offers a powerful biographical model. Opie, on his having painted for me the picture of Mrs. Indeed, thanks to the groundbreaking work of critics such as Stuart Curran and Judith Pascoe, few scholars would deny her a place within the wider Romantic canon. Brewer, published in , but missed by YWES last year. Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and Robert Southey. Petrarchan sonnet and the role her lyric sequence Sappho and Phaon played in her self-reinvention as a literary lioness.
In connection with this monograph, Daniel Robinson also published two spin-off articles this year. Although proved an exceptionally lean year for scholarship on the poetry of Samuel Rogers and Sir Walter Scott, two short biographical studies deserve special attention. The first eight chapters, all penned by Hebron, offer a detailed survey of the contents and accession history of the Bodleian collection of the Shelley family papers. The concluding chapter of the book is provided by Denlinger, who traces the vicissitudes of several Shelley manuscripts not held by the Bodleian, including the annotated copies of Queen Mab once owned by the notorious forgers Harry Buxton Forman and Thomas J.
The most noteworthy of these, from a literary-critical perspective, is perhaps H. The first of these is also by Kuiken; the other is by Michael Demson. Three other studies of individual Shelley poems appeared this year. In the meantime, readers of Shelley will find an excellent resource in the third volume of the recently expanded four-volume Longman Annotated English Poets series of The Poems of Shelley: — Significant attention is also paid to the popular rallying songs Shelley composed in this period, as well as to canonical poems such as Ode to the West Wind , To a Sky-Lark , and The Witch of Atlas.
The context and provenance of every entry are documented by detailed annotations, several of which incorporate new archival findings and manuscript discoveries. Teachers and students of Shelley will find a more accessible resource in the edition of his works which Stephen C. Behrendt has edited for the Longman Cultural Edition series. The most prominent of these is Jacqueline M. In doing so, it provides a powerful companion both to W. The central chapters of the book are of particular interest, both for Southey scholars and for cultural historians, in that they reconstruct the print war waged by Southey, Joseph White, Henry Philpotts, and George Townsend against the Catholic apologists John Milner and Charles Butler, vividly reanimating the terms of their often vitriolic debates.
Kitson, Sam Ward, and Alan Vardy. Andrews and Howell discuss his role as a traveller and travel writer. Daniel E. Matthews reflects on why Southey recorded his album verses and on his contradictory attitudes towards its values. Finally, Michael J. Scholars of John Thelwall will be pleased to find this once neglected poet, polymath, and political reformer at the centre of a trove of essays published as part of the Romantic Circles Praxis series archive. As Solomonescu explains in her introduction 20 paras.
The contributors to the collection more than fulfil this brief. The chapters of the book examine both the original versions and later fortunes of poems such as The Ruined Cottage and Salisbury Plain , as well as the development of The Prelude from through to its posthumous publication in Zheng introduces her book by distinguishing the comparative method of her study as one focused less on exploring direct lines of influence than on assessing historically contextualized cultural similarities.
Thus, whilst acknowledging the debates about how modernity is defined in both European and Chinese literary criticism, she also emphasizes a pervasive awareness, traceable within both the Romantic period and the New Culture Movement, that the contemporary age was one marked by unprecedented transformation. It is this sense of historical upheaval and innovation, Zheng argues, that gives rise to an appreciation of the sublime as an aesthetic principle through which to represent and respond to cultural and political crisis.
The final two chapters then proceed to discuss the aesthetics of the Chinese poet Guo Moruo — , contending that his appeals to the sublime are informed by his moral response to a sense of cultural crisis similar to that felt by the European Romantics.
In their introduction pp. The collection opens with three essays that take Lyrical Ballads as their starting point. Altogether, this thoughtful and intellectually engaging volume will appeal to Wordsworth scholars from a wide variety of intellectual backgrounds. Several other studies of the composition and reception of specific Wordsworth poems appeared this year. Jeffrey N. Drawing attention to the fluid pictorial dynamics of the poem as well its subtle allusion to the georgic mode, Folliot contends that, rather than simply aping the contemporary vogue for the picturesque, the early Wordsworth effectively supersedes aesthetic conventions of his era.
Local theatrical producers, Burwick suggests, needed to take into consideration not just which actors were available and their ability to play particular parts, but also the make-up of the local population in terms of ethnic group and class. Burwick takes an interesting approach to support his assertion that, alongside the romanticized child, the eroticized child and demonized child have long been and still are an established presence in art, theatre, and literature.
Burwick points out that for the most part children played children and their parts mirrored the idealized portrayals of children. However, he discusses the problems that could arise when children such as Master Betty and Miss Mudie were called on to act in adult roles and imitate sexual feelings when the characters they played were sexual predators, seducers or the seduced, or adulterers.
Chapters 2 to 6 explore the work of playwrights or individual plays outlined in the chapter headings above. In the final chapters Burwick examines how the theatres produced specific plays to appeal to local audiences and how, through the use of folk heroes such as Robin Hood and Rob Roy, narratives about highwaymen, executions, Continental plays, and factory-based melodramas, the illegitimate theatres appealed to a diverse audience and found ways to overcome the censors.
To do this, Burwick suggests, the plays that were adapted and produced and that on the surface seemed to offer moral judgement were in effect thinly veiled spectacles of brutality and transgression. A full review of this work can be found in YWES 90 — As with studies of eighteenth-century drama, Romantic drama scholarship continues its interest in the role and place of the actress in society.
In her first two chapters, on Siddons and Robinson, Engels adds to the growing knowledge with regard to these two women. However, fascinating though they are, the chapter on Mary Wells is perhaps the most interesting because she has received little critical attention over the past few years. However, as Engels suggests, the portrait needs a closer reading. Therefore, as this image suggests, where Wells is concerned it is often that which is not represented that is most significant. Sadly for Wells, her eccentricities and unpredictable behaviour as well as public perceptions of her madness ensured that she disappeared into obscurity.
The final short chapter discusses Fanny Kemble and her inherited celebrity as part of the Kemble theatrical family but, more especially, as the niece of Sarah Siddons. In particular Harris suggests that it was the star actress, Dorothy Jordan, mistress to the Duke of Clarence, who provided the inspiration for Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice .
However, it is Dorothy Jordan who most interests Harris, and her lively article does point out the risk of doing so as Jordan, like Robinson, was often pilloried in the press because of her royal liaisons and notorious private life. Nevertheless her argument is quite persuasive. This is an interesting and in-depth article that surveys the field of celebrity scholarship so far, as Wanko charts and outlines the changes in thinking and approaches over the past few years.
She also stresses the need for scholars to examine the conditions and contexts that enabled celebrity. The article is interesting, not least because of its consideration of closet plays, but also for its consideration of the ways in which we can see a non-traditional theatrical production as being theatrical in its own right and how it might best fit as alternative or experimental theatre, rather than mainstream theatre.
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Coleridge and the Daemonic Imagination
Abstract This chapter has five sections: 1. Google Preview. Romantic Circles Praxis series. Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters. Nineteenth-Century Lives and Letters. Stovel, Bruce. Nora Foster Shovel. Van Remoortel. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals. In The Natural Daughter , the heroine, Martha Morley, after attempting a career on the stage, turns to poetry as a professional recourse. Here, Robinson makes an important point about her own odes—a form, at this time, in which she had not worked for several years but one that.
The poem concludes,. The nipping blast, the pelting rain, Both will with equal ruin share:. An empty shadow, seen and lost! Such is thy power, Vain flower! Indeed, each of the interpolated poems in The Natural Daughter is a unique, fixed form that stands in stark contrast to the loose, at times rambling, and hurried feel of the prose narrative. Alluding to her early career, Robinson pokes fun at herself and at Hannah Cowley Anna Matilda and Robert Merry Della Crusca for writing the hugely popular poetry that frequently also was criticized for being no more than glittering nonsense.
Although she engages in some mild self- parody, this episode of The Natural Daughter is a reminder that the poetry of Della Crusca and his pseudonymous associates originally was all in good fun. From until then, it had been her principal pseudonym. So, five years later, her revival of Laura Maria in the newspaper coincides with her. At the end of her career, Robinson clearly then wished to rekindle also the popular sensation that helped her begin it by reminding her readers that newspaper poetry is meant to be playful and fun, and that she was not ashamed of writing it.
Literary and professional networking in the London newspapers is how Robinson begins and ends her career. While she certainly enjoyed participating in various more or less private coteries throughout her life, as a poet she pursued the pub- licity of professional and literary networks, founded on transmission and proliferation. Crucial to the idea of the network is the space in which it exists: originally, for the Della Crusca network, for instance, this is the newspaper, a kind of textual heterotopia where different actors— the writers and the poems themselves—cross temporal, textual, and aesthetic boundaries.
Bell is a conduit through which the Della Crusca network happens, just as Stuart is for the network of writers who worked for him at the Morning Post. The key to understanding the nature of this kind of network is the paratextual evidence found in the newspa- per publication—but not usually reprinted in the book publications. There are commercial reasons for this, of course. Because, in the paper, the poems are ephemeral and literally disposable, they ought to be playful, sensational, and, frankly, easy to read.
Every feature of the publication of these poems is meant to contribute to the facility of appreciation, which also suggests a cor- responding facility of composition. I have organized this study around the two publishers who represent the two principal networks in which Robinson participated as a contributor of newspaper verse.
She affiliated herself first with Bell and then later with Stuart, mak- ing herself their laureate in order to facilitate her professional career but also her pursuit of poetic fame. Her participation, then, in each of these networks is chiefly a professional literary collaboration. As a working poet who contributed to several news- papers and who sought professional recognition, Robinson follows a long tradition of pseudonymous periodical publication by which many emerging writers establish themselves. Robinson, however, is always re-emerging and re-establishing herself.
I find Robert J. Furthermore, the nature of the avatar is to evade any attempt to render a coherent writerly subjectivity; the avatar is protean, a refraction of identity, one potentially of many. Robinson deploys a range of avatars depending on text, context, or whim. I read them as incidental attributes of the literary text; so, as such, they resound in paratextual, contex- tual, and intertextual voices and echoes.
We may read the pseudony- mous signature attached to a poem just as we read its title, epigraph, or footnote. I tend to resist, therefore, imagining a fictional authorial persona or character that Robinson is performing—except when it is clear she is doing that. But even then, as we shall see, attempting to understand the signature as a coherent character can be exasperating. Each signature contributes to a Venn diagram of multiple referents for its specific instance. She learned this from Della Crusca.
I use the term avatar because I want to distinguish the Della Cruscan use of pen names from the trope of pseudonym- as- costume,. Southey uses his pen names and anonymity to hide, to elide from his professional self the commercial exchange of occasional poetry for money. Robinson never really uses her pseudonyms this way and continues to use certain pseudonyms even after her true identity is known.
In other words, it does not matter if people know her true identity because the pseudonym is just another version of her authorial self. Robinson uses her pen-names not merely to network with actual associates but to network with popular culture and literary tradition. The avatar is the figurative incarnation of the textual and contextual identity adopted by a poet, and thus allows for a multiplicity of poetic performances. The avatar is the incarnation of poetic legitimacy once it asserts itself in a literary network—even if it is a fiction.
FEIGNED Signatures: had she avowed them at an earlier period the plea- sure she now feels would have been considerably diminished, in the idea that the partiality of friends had procured the sanction her Poems. Even though it is both posturing and market- ing, this preface initiates a public performance in which Robinson, no longer on stage, asserts a textual claim to fame that her poems will have to fulfill. Her handsome volume, elegantly printed by Bell, is, moreover, a material product of her successful networking.
But this success is contingent upon the game she has learned how to play. Her avatars are not disguises—they are all testaments, artifacts of her lit- erary and cultural authority. She continues to use a pseudonym even after everyone knows it belongs to her. An avatar thus is all about being that version of oneself: she can be Laura Maria or she can be Oberon as a textual feature of the poetic instance. This is how she manifests and proliferates herself through form. Oberon as Robinson—Not Robinson as Oberon.
Were her avatars theatrical performances in print, Robinson sim- ply could have picked a character, say, from Shakespeare and writ- ten poetry as that character. Swift and Franklin, for instance, had constructed coherent characters for periodical publication. But her pseudonyms are far more complicated than that, as her Oberon ava- tar demonstrates. Oberon provides a useful case study. Again, Robinson is not playing a character that presumably has a particular—or characteristic—subjectivity.
She is presenting an alternate version of herself. Robinson, therefore, is not playing the role of Oberon as if it were a character. The avatar performs a. The papers for these days, however, are not known to exist. The blissful moment swift I caught,. This is the only Oberon poem to appear in her volume, which gathers her poetry from the World and the Oracle.
As I suggested above, however, her subsequent use of the Oberon avatar, before temporarily retiring it, greatly complicates this interpretation of the character. The poem concludes with the assurance that. This poem presents a different, more protective and fatherly Oberon and a different Maria.
No other reference is made to the previous. But why would Robinson write poems for her daughter as Oberon? These poems would seem to radically revise the character of Oberon. This portrayal of Oberon likely influenced the original Il Ferito exchange. The next time Robinson writes as Oberon, she addresses her fellow poet Charlotte Smith. But the poem focuses on the presumed maternal anxi- ety as Robinson promises comfort for Smith in poetic composition:. Robinson does not use the Oberon avatar again until it appears nearly seven years later in the Oracle , now owned by Peter Stuart, who purchased it from Bell and called it the Oracle and Daily Advertiser.
Almost a year later, Robinson revives the avatar for her work at the Morning Post during the final year of her life, at which point it loses its punning association.
These poems, replete with the frisson of fleeting glimpses of fashionable female celebrity, gently lampoon the chivalric hyperbole of male erotic spectatorship and hyper- sensibility, if not the spectacles themselves. Robinson treads lightly here, for she was known to be the author of the Oberon poems and did not want to risk alienating those whom she hoped would subscribe to a third volume of her collected poems, which never materialized despite being puffed aggressively in the Post.
Oberon is like any other poet- figure in that he writes in a variety of styles from a variety of perspectives. In this way, Oberon, like each of her avatars, is a metonym for Robinson. She used the signature for several other poems during the final months of her life, from May until October of , and these final Oberon poems run the gambit of her lyric modes.
As Pascoe notes, Robinson probably wit- nessed much of this firsthand at Windsor Camp, where, as the Post reported on 5 August , a large party took place the week before Romantic TENTS, marquees , and baggage waggons; Suttling houses; beer in flaggons; Drums and trumpets, singing, firing; Girls seducing, beaux admiring; Country lasses gay and smiling City lads their hearts beguiling;. Weary soldiers, sighing, swearing! Robinson uses the binary symmetry of the couplets and the syncopa- tion of varying caesurae to sonic and semantic effect. The power of the poem is that the irony, one suspects, is ironic in itself because its satirical method shifts imperceptibly from objective description to sarcastic juxtaposition and back again.
As Jeffrey C. But then why reprint the poem at all? Robinson thus does not play Oberon; rather, Oberon represents Robinson. This is why I think of them in terms of form rather than character or persona. On a more mundane level, for professional purposes, the pseudonyms gave the impression of variety—especially in the final year of her life—and provided her employers with the appearance of a healthy stable of writers. As the chief contributor of poetry to the Morning Post , Robinson seems to have thought of her position as requiring at least the fiction of a vast array of poetic contributors.
But the minor avatars, too, have peculiar significations and resonance attached incidentally to certain poems. But there is likely some irony in this as well, since, as Robinson would have known, Julia is the granddaughter of Augustus and, according to the lore, the supposed lover of Ovid. The Della Crusca Network. When Mary Robinson returned from her self- imposed continental exile at the beginning of , the poetry of the World was all the rage. The sensational poetic exchange between Della Crusca and Anna Matilda, carried on in the columns of this innovative newspaper, was at the height of its popularity, with readers speculating feverishly on the identities of the two rhapsodic poets.
Later, in July, an attractive two- volume anthology of poems collected from the World appeared from the press of John Bell. Now, back in England, she had to. Moreover, she was partially incapacitated by a mysterious illness she suffered in She was therefore in need of a profession. Robinson, furthermore, remained on friendly terms with Fox, who also was a friend of Tarleton, and with Sheridan, who had an uneasy political relationship with Fox. Robinson thus returned to a heady social network of eminent Whigs who welcomed her home.
Was Topham or Bell among them? Robinson was willing to work for her poetic immortality as a profes- sional writer, even if she had to start by earning pennies by contribut- ing newspaper verse. Robinson has left Aix, and Spa; and means to continue in London. Insipid as this item is, it was the first press report on Robinson in several years that did not portray Robinson as an exemplar of female depravity and that did not exult in reporting.
Robinson, the celebrated Perdita , has published, in France, several pieces of Poetry, which have been well received.
About this book
Robinson was eager to exchange identities. The Della Crusca network afforded Robinson a crucial opportunity for exchanging her celebrity for poetic fame. Merry provided her a model for doing so: after a few years abroad, he had repatriated himself in the newspaper as Della Crusca and had become famous. As popular culture, the poetry of the World only facetiously pretends to be great literature. What is exceptional about the poetry associated with the World and Della Crusca is that it became a sensation, and the actors involved in the network were all keen to capitalize on that sensation.
Like any form of pop culture, it was subject to criticism and complaint, but such cavils are forms of misreading. I propose instead that the Della Cruscans were not a coterie of pretentious poets, as many contemporary detractors thought them, or a serious literary. The original coterie of English expatriates residing in Florence consisted of Robert Merry, Hester Piozzi, Bertie Greatheed, and William Parsons; they wrote poems to one another for fun and collected them together as The Florence Miscellany , published in The Della Crusca network began a few months after the creation of the World.
The first number of the paper, 1 January , sold 3, copies with an additional 1, printed to meet demand Morison, John Bell 8. Within its first few months of publication the World had become hugely successful, affecting the sales of all of the other London papers Werkmeister, London Its political opin- ions were directed by playwright- cum -MP Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who wrote some of the political coverage, and possibly by the ambi- tious yet aimless Prince of Wales, who was at the time flirting with Whig politics.
Topham conducted the paper with the help of his assis- tant and mistress Mary Wells, the Reverend Charles Este, and the playwright and gunpowder merchant Miles Peter Andrews, whom Robinson may also have known from her days in the theatre. Because of these personal associations and because the paper was itself a sensation,. In July of all of this would have galvanized Robinson, who had deployed her celebrity to canvass for Fox in April of Publishing with Bell certainly was an appealing prospect.
Bell, who despite his success remains a rather shadowy figure, estab- lished an atmosphere of ludic eroticism in which poetry and sexuality were linked. A thought improper soon received a check, Nor did indecent words our phrases deck. May some kind artist, who no vice bewitches , Give J. Bell would have known the adage well enough—sex sells. The poetry of the Della Crusca network thus was playfully erotic.
As he did with his other publications, Bell marketed The Poetry of the World heavily on the front page of the paper while Topham puffed it extensively in its columns. In particular, the two partners were keen to capitalize on the popularity of the erotic poetic exchange between Della Crusca and Anna Matilda, the pseudonyms, respectively, of Robert Merry and Hannah Cowley. Their fictional love affair had begun the previous summer and was serially enacted in the pages of the daily paper over several months, boosting sales of the fledg- ing broadsheet sufficiently to warrant publication in book from.
The operatic vicissitudes of these star- crossed lovers was expressed in an exaggerated version of the language of Sensibility; it was just indeco- rous enough to be titillating. For Bell, this poetical correspondence became a commercially successful venture in a new form of popular culture.
At the beginning of the Della Crusca- Anna Matilda phenomenon, the Bell—Topham nexus was central to this network because it pro- vided the media: this nexus selected and printed the poems in the newspaper, collected and published them in a book, with Bell ulti- mately offering solo book deals to those writers—Merry, Cowley, and Robinson—who proved to be the most popular.
Bell also would publish the first four books of poetry she would produce as a professional writer— Ainsi va le Monde in , her first volume of Poems by Mrs. The fair writer of these poems has been, for some time past, known to the literary world under the assumed names of Laura, Laura. Maria, and. Most often reiterated in print by her friends, this valuable sobriquet nonetheless became cultural currency for the rest of the decade, although some repeated it more or less obliquely in reference to her adulterous past.
The Man of Bran. In this regard, the figure Gifford attacks is a straw man; or, rather, a man of bran. In fact, the original Accademia della Crusca had ostensibly ludic origins:. The flour is good language, the bran is bad. Although they were serious about their goal, as the publication of their Vocabolario attests, the name is self-deprecating, even burlesque, enough. And they used avatars as well in this social and cultural network, all of which pertained to various aspects of the cultivation of grain and. Merry knew this history. While in Florence from to , Merry associated with former members of the Cruscan academy, who elected him to membership in the new Leopoldine one.
The orig- inal newspaper publications, however, provide some additional nuances that point to the playfulness of these poems and of this particular net- work. The following Poem needs no recommendation but its own merit; and I send it to you, because with you it will be most seen. The author of it will occasionally appear in the World , though he will be unknown.
If Mrs. Piozzi , therefore, should ever remember to have seen what may henceforward appear, let her conceal the name of the author, under that of. The paradoxical effect is also, therefore, Petrarchan and thus also echoes many an Elizabethan sonneteer. With magic touch explore my heart,. And bid the tear of passion start. A remarkably sensual—if not downright carnal—opening indeed, even if its language is all figure. This quality is markedly characteristic of these poems: they are sexy, aware of their own eroticism, and highly conscious of the ways in which that eroticism is created and sustained entirely through text, through figure, through a shared language of play.
It is breathless and is in fact the shortest poem of their corre- spondence; it is as though the excitement of the encounter can hardly be contained. Anna Matilda is obviously randy, but this rather surprising opening allows the poem to develop its own dynamic. Indeed, the poem is practically an exhortation to write better poetry. A playful network emerges when we consider the maneuverings and in- jokes of its participants and the evidence of such in the vari- ous texts and paratexts of the World.
They clearly were having fun with it; and so was the public, who became involved in the fiction of the Della Cruscans just as readers would follow the serial narra- tives of Dickens or, today, on television. I doubt many of them cared whether it was real or not. It was charming and entertaining. She points out that he should vary his meter after two poems in the same form and urges him to do something wildly irregular:.
And be thy lines irregular, and free! Poetic chains should fall, before such bards as thee. Bid her in verse meandering sport; Her footsteps quick, or long, or short Just as her various impulse wills— Scorning the frigid square, which her fine fervor chills. December World Cowley thus intends for the sound to seem an echo of the sense. In her poem of 22 December, she basically advises him to get over himself and go back to writing about love, which is a lot more fun than war and death. Afraid that he will write no more love poetry, feeling no longer the delicious pain, she reprimands his willingness to settle for less:.
After all, they were not characters on a stage whose plot could be enacted; the writers had to develop the relationship between their avatars in a strictly textual and intertextual fashion. She teases him with an unflattering vision of himself as a compla- cent burgher rather than the poetic playboy to whom she initially responded and whom she may have known Merry actually to be.
This is actually a comic invitation to drop the earnest pose and to play. Piozzi, Mrs. Cowley, Mrs. The poetry, though, was hardly savaged. The worthiness of their preservation was part of the marketing strategy as the narrative came to a close. While at first the tone and taste of the poems seemed to consign them to the commercialized and ephemeral space of the newspaper, paradoxically their very popularity allowed them to shift registers, to be reified in the pages of the print book.
The correspondence between Della Crusca and Anna Matilda had worked itself up to a pitch that they could not sustain. Anna Matilda ultimately declared herself a votary of Indifference, promising Della Crusca only friendship and, to his dismay, chastity. His conclusion of the poetic affair impugns Anna Matilda as nothing more than a tease:. Poem after poem records their adoration of and admonitions to one another; when read as playful popular culture, they are hilarious. Popular culture always seeks, in spite of the odds, its own perpetu- ation.
Topham and Bell, surely with Merry and Cowley in tow, found in this a golden opportunity. He adds wryly,. As to the Poems, if you think proper to collect and reprint them in a more durable form, I submit them, with some other Productions here adjoined, to your disposal; and I write this Letter, to empower you to make over my right to Mr.
B ELL , or any other person you may approve. Anna Matilda, though, gets the last word on 26 May with her melodramatic goodbye to Della Crusca and, of course, to poetry as well. There is a period, when Envy and Malevolence will wound no lon- ger. That period has arrived to these Poems. They are now, however, going into a form, where Impression will be lasting; where praise will be unmixed; and it is amongst the best praises of these Poems, that they have set with the same splendour with which they rose.
Undiminished in Death! In terms such as these, the transformation from ephemeral newspaper to literary immortality is a comically hyperbolic apotheosis, a whimsi- cal take on the poetic pursuit of eternal fame.