The Baroque in English Neoclassical Literature

By J. Douglas Canfield | Go to book overview
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INTRODUCTION

1. The generalizations in this first paragraph are, literally, common-sense syntheses based on reading in the standard histories of art and examining countless volumes in the history of architecture, music, painting, sculpture, and literature. For a discussion of the term neoclassical as applied to English literature, see J. Douglas Canfield and J. Paul Hunter, eds., Rhetorics of Order/Ordering Rhetorics in English Neoclassical Literature (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1989), intro. For the vexed concept of the baroque in literature, see the classic studies by René Wellek, “The Concept of the Baroque in Literature,” in Concepts of Criticism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963); Odette de Mourgues, Metaphysical, Baroque & Précieux Poetry (Oxford: Clarendon, 1953); and Frank J. Warnke, Versions of Baroque: European Literature in the Seventeenth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972). Not too long ago the eminent Renaissance scholar John M. Steadman revisited the problem of delimiting the baroque in Redefining a Period Style: “Renaissance,” “Mannerist” and “Baroque” in Literature (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1990). And about the same time Timothy Hampton introduced Baroque, 1–6, and concluded that, whether the term is used to refer to the literature of a specific period or generalized to refer to a tendency in art, it remains indeterminate—or perhaps I would say, overdetermined.

2. J. M. Cohen, The Baroque Lyric (London: Hutchinson University Library, 1963), 14.

3. The Baroque: Literature and Culture in Seventeenth-Century Europe (London: Methuen, 1978), viii.


CHAPTER 1. MILTON:MYSTERIOUSLY MEANT

1. See Allen, Mysteriously Meant; The Rediscovery of Pagan Symbolism and Allegorical Interpretation in the Renaissance (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970). The phrase itself, of course, is Milton’s own.

2. Kelley, This Great Argument: A Study of Milton’s De Doctrina Christiana as a Gloss upon Paradise Lost (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941), 94–106.

3. Fowler provided the notes for Paradise Lost in Fowler and John Carey,

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