English Bards and Grecian Marbles: The Relationship between Sculpture and Poetry Especially in the Romantic Period

English Bards and Grecian Marbles: The Relationship between Sculpture and Poetry Especially in the Romantic Period

English Bards and Grecian Marbles: The Relationship between Sculpture and Poetry Especially in the Romantic Period

English Bards and Grecian Marbles: The Relationship between Sculpture and Poetry Especially in the Romantic Period

Excerpt

This book presents a critical and historical study of that English poetry, up to and including the Romantic period, which is inspired by ancient Greek sculpture. I examine a considerable body of poetry both for its own merits and for its relationship to a somewhat loose yet easily discernible tradition of interest in ancient art. Before the Romantic period, not every poem is reviewed; but I consider most of the important poets, and in any case I have sketched the major strands in the development of poetic interest in Greek sculpture.

Complete by itself, the book nevertheless looks ahead to several others. It implies, first of all, a sequel (already planned in part), which will continue the account of Grecian marbles in English poetry throughout the nineteenth and into the twentieth century, with at least a side glance at American poetry. I also hope this work may encourage various studies of Hellenism in England, both by itself and in relation to similar movements in other countries. In contrast to Continental scholars, English-speaking writers have done surprisingly little in this interesting field.

Two matters of chronology need some explanation. I have placed Milton after his proper time, not to remove him from the "Renaissance tradition" with which, perhaps, he has most in common, but in order to suggest the elements in his works and thought which contributed to the Hellenism of the eighteenth-century and the Romantic poets. The chapters on individual Romantic poets follow movements of ideas, unless, as in the cases of Wordsworth and Keats, something is gained by following a chronological sequence. I have not scrupled to treat works by Romantic poets which appeared as much as two decades after the close of the Romantic period.

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