The Major English Romantic Poets: A Symposium in Reappraisal

The Major English Romantic Poets: A Symposium in Reappraisal

The Major English Romantic Poets: A Symposium in Reappraisal

The Major English Romantic Poets: A Symposium in Reappraisal

Excerpt

This volume was planned as a symposium of present-day critical estimates of the chief English Romantic poets. It was intended neither as a defense nor a justification of these poets or of the period to which they belong, but as a cross-section of opinion and appraisal by as many qualified scholars and critics as could be conveniently included in one book. The scheme of the project called for frank evaluation, in terms of present-day standards and needs, of the English Romantic period as a whole and of each of its five leading poets. Readers will find three longer articles on the period, and one on the thought, one on the art of each poet, with one or more "capsule" essays on each, running from 1,200 to 2,500 words in length. Except for the fact that some of our capsulers happily exceeded the prescribed word limits, the original plan has been followed.

We have been fortunate in enlisting the aid of twenty leading scholars and critics of three great English-speaking countries, Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. These writers furnish a considerable range of view and practice. Not all are academic men and not all are specialists in Romantic literature or on the author of whom they write. Not all are friendly to the Romantic period, and some have anything but a partisan bias for their immediate subject: thus Hoxie Fairchild may scarcely be reckoned as a true apostle of Romanticism; Raymond D. Havens, whose last long literary essay is here posthumously published, had distinct reservations about Shelley's poetic art; Cleanth Brooks has high praise for Keats, and on occasion for Wordsworth, but his acceptance of Romantic writers in general is a highly selective and qualified . . .

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