Fins-de-siècle: English poetry in 1590, 1690, 1790, 1890, 1990

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Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995 - History - 142 pages
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"These essays are about previous ends of centuries, but are also themselves fin-de-siecle instruments and achievements. They will become part of any future study of our own time."--Peter Sacks, The Johns Hopkins University. In Les Fins de Siecle Elaine Scarry brings together an eminent group of contributors to examine a subject that increasingly occupies our thoughts as this century--and this millennium--approaches an end. Arranged chronologically, the chapters treat English poetry and culture at successive turns-of-the-century. The result is a rich picture of the ways calendar and culture affect one another. Even if we must pass through our own century's turn "unprotected," these pictures from the past provide an array of models that may prove useful: the book shows us portraits of the fin de siecle as a radical invitation to political distribution (Braudy), as a prolonged kiss (McGann), as an assassin (Vendler), and even as an Hegelian reader, "curled up in an easy chair" wishing to exempt itself from the rest of the century (de Grazia). The number of great poets who wrote at their century's end--Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare--works to deepen our attention to the poetry now emerging in the 1990s.

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About the author (1995)

Elaine Scarry is professor of English and American Literature at Harvard University. She is the author of The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World and editor of Literature and the Body: Selected Papers from the English Institute, the latter available from Johns Hopkins.

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