The Correspondent Breeze
Essays on English Romanticism
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Correspondent Breeze by M. H. Abrams
Book DescriptionOne of the deans of literary criticism in America, M. H. Abrams is Class of 1916 Professor of English at Cornell University. He is the author of two landmark books, The Mirror and the Lamp and Natural Supernaturalism, and general editor of the Norton Anthology of English Literature. This volume collects the essays, written over three decades, which-together with his books-testify to his preeminence. The essays examine Wordsworth's and Coleridge's innovations in their theories about the language of poetry; the prevalence, sources, and significance of a key Romantic image, the "correspondent breeze"; the pervasive revolutionary spirit of Romanticism; the defining characteristics and chief exemplars of the most distinctive poetic genre of the age, the "greater Romantic lyric"; the relation of Coleridge and Wordsworth to modernist poetics and literature; the philosophic and scientific backgrounds of Coleridge's thinking; and the numerous manifestations of apocalypticism in the Romantic period.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780393303407
(203mm x 127mm x 25mm)
Imprint: WW Norton & Co
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Publish Date: 28-Jan-1987
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author M. H. Abrams
Fourth Dimension of a Poem, Hardback (October 2012)
A new collection of essays by the legendary literary scholar and critic.
Doing Things with Texts, Paperback (October 1991)View all books by M. H. Abrams
"One of the most respected literary scholars alive, ... Abrams stands for understanding and conciliation, calling for a kind of humanism that can embrace the good in all literary theories." -Washington Post
US Kirkus Review » Nine longish and typically solid pieces by one of the deans of literary criticism in America. Abrams (Cornell) has established his reputation with The Mirror and the Lamp (1953) and Natural Supernaturalism (1971), which explore the historical roots, the philosophical creativity, and the poetic visions of the Romantic movement, chiefly in England and Germany. He continues that balanced, painstaking work here, concentrating on Wordsworth and Coleridge, and indulging his polemical vein a bit more than usual: Abrams judges the poetics (and by implication the poetry) of Wordsworth and Coleridge superior to that of the Modernists (he cites, among others, Baudelaire, Valery, Yeats, and Eliot) because its energizing goals of this-worldly Apocalypse, of organic form and cosmic harmony, are gander and more humane. When, for example, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley advance "symbolic equations between breeze, breath, and soul, respiration and inspiration, the reanimation of nature and of the spirit," they usher us into a world more profoundly allusive (freighted with the Hebrew ruach, the Holy Ghost, Stoic Pneuma, etc.) and more "livable" than the autotelic, alienated, hyper-aesthetic "Byzantiums" of the post-Romantics. Abrams spends most of his time, however, on straightforward explication: reaffirming the link between Romanticism and the French Revolution, tracing Coleridge's infatuation and then disenchantment with the sonnets of William Bowles, defining and analyzing the structure of "the greater Romantic lyric" (Frost at Midnight, Tintern Abbey, Stanzas Written in Dejection, et al.). Abrams is not a notable prose stylist, but he can sum up whole epochs and genres with a telling phrase, as when he calls the Prelude and Sartor Resartus "a theodicy of the individual life." Somewhat repetitious for those who know his books, but admirably cogent and erudite throughout. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - M. H. Abrams
M. H. Abrams (1912-2015) was Class of 1916 Professor of English, Emeritus at Cornell University. He received the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Prize for The Mirror and the Lamp and the MLA's James Russell Lowell Prize for Natural Supernaturalism. He is also the author of The Milk of Paradise, A Glossary of Literary Terms, The Correspondent Breeze, and Doing Things with Texts. He is the recipient of Guggenheim, Ford Foundation, and Rockefeller Postwar fellowships, the Award in Humanistic Studies from the Academy of Arts and Sciences (1984), the Distinguished Scholar Award by the Keats-Shelley Society (1987), and the Award for Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1990). In 1999 The Mirror and the Lamp was ranked twenty-fifth among the Modern Library's "100 best nonfiction books written in English during the twentieth century." Jack Stillinger (Ph.D. Harvard) is Center for Advanced Study Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Illinois. He is the author of The Hoodwinking of Madeline and Other Essays on Keats's Poems, The Texts of Keats's Poems, the standard edition of The Poems of John Keats; Multiple Authorship and the Myth of Solitary Genius; Coleridge and Textual Instability; and Reading "The Eve of St. Agnes." He is the recipient of Guggenheim and Woodrow Wilson fellowships and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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