Lyric Generations: Poetry and the Novel in the Long Eighteenth Century

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JHU Press, Jan 14, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 298 pages
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Eighteenth-century British literary history is traditionally characterized by two central and seemingly discrete movements: the rise of the novel and the development of Romantic lyric poetry. In fact, recent scholarship reveals that these genres are inextricably bound: constructions of interiority developed in novels changed ideas about what literature could mean and do, encouraging the new focus on private experience and self-perception developed in lyric poetry.

In Lyric Generations Gabrielle Starr rejects the usual genealogy of lyric poetry in which Romantic poets are thought to have built solely and directly upon the works of Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton. She argues instead that novelists such as Richardson, Haywood, Behn and others, while drawing upon earlier lyric conventions, ushered in a new language of self-expression and community that profoundly affected the aesthetic goals of lyric poets. Examining the works of Cowper, Smith, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Keats in light of their competitive dialogue with the novel, Starr advances a literary history that considers formal characteristics as products of historical change. In a world increasingly defined by prose, poets adapted the new forms, characters, and moral themes of the novel in order to reinvigorate poetic practice.

  

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Contents

Clarissa and the Lyric
15
Lyric and Letter in Behn Haywood
47
Sympathy Displacement and Self
72
Chiasmus Convention and Lyric
101
The Limits of Lyric and the Space of the Novel
125
The Novel and the New Lyricism
159
Notes
203
Bibliography
275
Index
293
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About the author (2004)

G. Gabrielle Starr is an assistant professor in the department of English at New York University.

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