The Fragmentary Poetic: Eighteenth-century Uses of an Experimental Mode

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Lehigh University Press, 2009 - Literary Criticism - 173 pages
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The Fragmentary Poetic is the first study of the mode of the fragmentary eighteenth-century poetry. Revisiting traditional literary historiography, it offers a fresh account of the "Pindaric" impulse, a mode informing deliberate fragmentation. Its "amphibian" nature accommodates its transgeneric use in genres as varied as the ode and the epic, deploying the ruin as an emblem of its deliberate resistance to closure or the sublime to indicate rupture. The study discusses the ode, the long-poem, imitations of Spenser, Macpherson's "reinventions" of the epic, and poems engaging with memory and ruin. Poets variously utilized the fragmentary as a mode reflecting human fallibility, but also (paradoxically) as evidence for original completeness and authenticity. Detailed discussions of poems include works ranging from Thomson and Young to Macpherson, Charlotte Smith, and Wordsworth. Scholars of both eighteenth-century and Romantic period poetry will find this book a useful guide to the generic complexity of eighteenth-century poetry. This account of the polymorphous nature of the fragment and definitional and formal fluidity enables scholars to rethink eighteenth-century form and to appreciate a pervasive mode that found its most varying expression in the poetry of the period. Sandro Jung is the James Thomson Fellow in Eighteenth- and Ninteenth-Century Literature and Culture at the University of Salford.

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The Pindaric Mode
Inventing the LongPoem

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