Critical Essays of the Early Nineteenth Century

Critical Essays of the Early Nineteenth Century

Read FREE!

Critical Essays of the Early Nineteenth Century

Critical Essays of the Early Nineteenth Century

Read FREE!

Excerpt

A new era of criticism, corresponding closely with a new era of poetry, is recognized as having arisen in England at the close of the eighteenth century, being destined to dominate the greater part of the century following. In general this is pretty definitely connected with what is called the Romantic Movement, though that phrase has long been used so vaguely and variously as to be a dangerous one for the practical purposes of a student. Whatever there was in common--despite their many differences--in the poetic theories and practise of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Shelley, may no doubt safely be called "romantic"; and this common attitude will be found to be reflected (or, occasionally, opposed) in the criticism of their period.

Another outstanding fact about the criticism of this period is its connection with the development of periodical literature--that is, with certain new types of literary journalism. Two types, to speak more accurately, rose to prominence in the same generation: one that of the great reviews, the other that of the magazine; and each of them gave opportunity for the development of criticism in characteristic ways. Even when, as in the case of the chapters in Coleridge's miscellaneous Biographia Literaria, a critic's material first appeared in book form, its substance or tone was often determined by the journalistic criticism of the time.

Since the essays in the present collection deal with countless subjects, suggested by both classic and contemporary writings, it would be absurd to seek for unity of theme, much less of opinion, in the whole group. Yet certain topics recur repeatedly, in significant fashion, or, if not consciously expressed by the writers, are seen at this distance to be implicit in their discussions and to represent significant elements in the literary thinking of the period. Of primary importance is the question . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.