Majestic Indolence: English Romantic Poetry and the Work of Art
Spiegelman examines the theme of indolence-- both positive and negative--as it appears in the canonical work of four Romantic poets. He argues for a renewal of interest in literary formalism, aesthetics, and the pastoral genre. Wordsworth's "wise passiveness," Coleridge's "dejection" and torpor, Shelley's pastoral dolce far niente, and Keats's "delicious...indolence" are seen as individual manifestations of a common theme. Spiegelman argues that the trope of indolence originated in the religious, philosophical, psychological, and economic discourses from the middle ages to the late eighteenth century. In particular, the years surrounding the French revolution are marked by the rich variety of experiments conducted by these poets on this topic. Countering recent politically/ideologically motivated literary theory, Spiegelman looks, instead, at how the poems work. He argues for aesthetic appreciation and critique, which, he feels, the Romantic pastoral begs for in its celebration of nature and the sublime. The book concludes with Spiegelman following the Romantic legacy and its transformation into America (in the form of Whitman), and, further, into the twentieth century (in Frost's poems).
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abstractions activity Adonais aesthetic aristocratic beauty bower Cambridge chiasmus child Coleridge Coleridge's condition critics Dejection depiction discussion Dorothy Wordsworth dream earlier Eclogue elegy Elizabeth Bishop English Epipsychidion especially Essays Euganean Hills experience feeling figure flowers freedom Frost at Midnight genre georgic gesture grammatical Harold Bloom heart human idleness imagination indolence Jerome McGann Keats Keats's Keatsian L’Allegro label labor landscape leisure letter lines literary London look Lyrical Ballads M. H. Abrams melancholy metaphor mind modern mood nature never Ode on Indolence ornamental otium Oxford paradoxical passive pastoral play pleasure poem poem's poet poet's poetic poetry political Prelude Prometheus Unbound readers reading rhetorical Romantic Romanticism scene seems sense Shelley Shelley's Shelleyan sloth social Song soul speaker spirit stanza stylistic suggests sweet things thou thought tion trope University Press verbs Whitman William William Wordsworth words Wordsworth Wordsworthian York