Cover image for The Cambridge companion to eighteenth-century poetry
The Cambridge companion to eighteenth-century poetry
Sitter, John E.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
xix, 298 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Introduction : the future of eighteenth-century poetry / John Sitter -- Couplets and conversation / J. Paul Hunter -- Political passions / Christine Gerrard -- Publishing and reading poetry / Barbara M. Benedict -- The city in eighteenth-century poetry / Brean Hammond -- "Nature" poetry / Tim Fulford -- Questions in poetics : why and how poetry matters / John Sitter -- Eighteenth-century women poets and readers / Claudia Thomas Kairoff -- Creating a national poetry : the tradition of Spenser and Milton / David Fairer -- The return to the ode / Ralph Cohen -- A poetry of absence / David B. Morris --The poetry of sensibility / Patricia Meyer Spacks -- "Pre-Romanticism" and the ends of eighteenth-century poetry / Jennifer Keith.
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Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR551 .C27 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The Cambridge Companion to Eighteenth-Century Poetry analyzes major premises, preoccupations, and practices of English poets writing from 1700 to the 1790s. These specially-commissioned essays avoid familiar categories and single-author approaches to look at the century afresh. Chapters consider such large poetic themes as nature, the city, political passions, the relation of death to desire and dreams, appeals to an imagined future, and the meanings of 'sensibility'. Other chapters explore historical developments such as the connection between poetic couplets and conversation, the conditions of publication, changing theories of poetry and imagination, growing numbers of women poets and readers, the rise of a self-consciously national tradition, and the place of lyric poetry in thought and practice. The essays are well supported by supplementary material including a chronology of the period and detailed guides to further reading. Altogether the volume provides an invaluable resource for scholars and students.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The 13 essays in this volume provide useful and accessible background material for students of 18th-century poetry. Author of The Poetry of Pope's Dunciad (1971), Literary Loneliness in Mid-Eighteenth-Century England (CH, Feb'83), and Arguments of Augustan Wit (CH, Oct'92), Sitter opts for essays treating broad, inclusive topics and avoids altogether discussions of single figures; he himself contributes the introduction and an essay on changing critical premises in the century. In a suggestive chapter on the emergence of anthologies and magazines as the new venues of publication, Barbara Benedict argues that the 18th century transformed literature into "mass entertainment" and made writing a "middle-class profession." Her interest in the reader's role in the production of poetry pervades the collection--notably, Claudia Kairoff's "Women Poets and Readers," Paul Hunter's "Couplets and Conversation," and, most interestingly, David Fairer's discussion of the poets' reading of Spenser and Milton as the means of understanding themselves in a developing "national literary history." Other chapters consider politics, the celebration and critique of the city, the distinctly "English" sense of "nature," the greater and lesser ode, and the poetry of absence, sensibility, and "pre-Romanticism." Recommended for all academic collections, undergraduate and graduate. G. R. Wasserman emeritus, Russell Sage College

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Notes on contributors
1 Introduction: the future of eighteenth-century poetryJohn Sitter
2 Couplets and conversationJ. Paul Hunter
3 Political passionsChristine Gerrard
4 Publishing and reading poetryBarbara M. Benedict
5 The city in eighteenth-century poetryBrean Hammond
6 'Nature' poetryTim Fulford
7 Questions in poetics: why and how poetry mattersJohn Sitter
8 Eighteenth-century women poets and readersClaudia Thomas Kairoff
9 Creating a national poetry: the tradition of Spenser and MiltonDavid Fairer
10 The return to the odeRalph Cohen
11 A poetry of absenceDavid B. Morris
12 The poetry of sensibilityPatricia Meyer Spacks
13 'Pre-Romanticism' and the ends of eighteenth-century poetryJennifer Keith