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The Romantic Poetry Handbook

Michael O'Neill, Madeleine Callaghan

ISBN: 978-1-118-30873-8 December 2017 Wiley-Blackwell 352 Pages


An absorbing survey of poetry written in one of the most revolutionary eras in the history of British literature

This comprehensive survey of British Romantic poetry explores the work of six poets whose names are most closely associated with the Romantic era—Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Keats, Byron, and Shelley—as well as works by other significant but less widely studied poets such as Leigh Hunt, Charlotte Smith, Felicia Hemans, and Letitia Elizabeth Landon. Along with its exceptional coverage, the volume is alert to relevant contexts, and opens up ways of understanding Romantic poetry.

The Romantic Poetry Handbook encompasses the entire breadth of the Romantic Movement, beginning with Anna Laetitia Barbauld and running through to Thomas Lovell Beddoes and John Clare. In its central section ‘Readings’ it explores tensions, change, and continuity within the Romantic Movement, and examines a wide range of individual poems and poets through sensitive, attentive and accessible analyses. In addition, the authors provide a full introduction, a detailed historical and cultural timeline, biographies of the poets whose works are featured in the “Readings” section, and a helpful guide to further reading.

The Romantic Poetry Handbook is an ideal text for undergraduate and postgraduate study of British Romantic poetry. It also will appeal to every reader with an interest in the Romantics and in poetry generally. 

Acknowledgements viii

Part 1 Introduction 1

Part 2 Timeline of the Late Eighteenth Century and Romantic Period 21

Part 3 Biographies 47

Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743–1825) 49

Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803–1849) 51

William Blake (1757–1827) 54

Robert Burns (1759–1796) 57

Lord George Gordon Byron (1788–1824) 59

John Clare (1793–1864) 61

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) 63

Felicia Hemans (1793–1835) 66

(James Henry) Leigh Hunt (1784–1859) 69

John Keats (1795–1821) 72

Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–1838) 74

Thomas Moore (1779–1852) 77

Mary Robinson (1758–1800) 80

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) 82

Charlotte Smith (1749–1806) 85

Robert Southey (1774–1843) 87

William Wordsworth (1770–1850) 90

Ann Yearsley (1753–1806) 93

Part 4 Readings 95

First-Generation Romantic Poets 95

Anna Laetitia Barbauld, ‘Epistle to William Wilberforce,  Esq., on the Rejection of the Bill for ­Abolishing the Slave Trade’; ‘The Rights of Woman’; Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, A Poem 97

Charlotte Smith, Elegiac Sonnets 101

Charlotte Smith, Beachy Head 107

Ann Yearsley, ‘Poem on the Inhumanity of the Slave-trade’; ‘Bristol Elegy’ 110

William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience 115

William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell ; The Book of Urizen ; ‘The Mental Traveller’ 124

Mary Robinson, Sappho and Phaon 132

Robert Burns, Lyrics 137

William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads 144

William Wordsworth, ‘Resolution and Independence’;  ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality’; ‘Elegiac Stanzas, Suggested  by a Picture of Peele Castle in a Storm, Painted by Sir George Beaumont’; ‘Surprized by Joy’ 152

William Wordsworth, The Prelude 163

William Wordsworth, The Excursion 174

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Conversation Poems: ‘The Eolian Harp’,  ‘This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison’, ‘Frost at ­Midnight’,  and ‘Dejection: An Ode’ 179

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner ;  Kubla Khan; ‘The Pains of Sleep’; Christabel 187

Robert Southey, Thalaba the Destroyer and The Curse of Kehama 196

Second-Generation Romantic Poets 203

Thomas Moore, Irish Melodies 205

Leigh Hunt, The Story of Rimini 211

Lord Byron, Lara ; ‘When We Two Parted’; ‘Stanzas to Augusta’; Manfred 215

Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage 223

Lord Byron, Don Juan, Cantos 1–4 232

Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab ; Alastor;  Laon and Cythna [The Revolt of Islam] 242

Percy Bysshe Shelley, ‘Hymn to Intellectual Beauty’;  ‘Mont Blanc’; ‘Ozymandias’; ‘Ode to the West Wind’;  the late poems to Jane Williams 251

Percy Bysshe Shelley, ­Prometheus Unbound; Adonais;  The Triumph of Life 260

John Keats, Endymion ; ‘Sleep and Poetry’; The Sonnets 268

John Keats, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion 277

John Keats, The 1820 Volume 284

Third-Generation Romantic Poets 295

John Clare: Lyrics 297

Felicia Hemans, Records of Woman: With Other Poems 304

Letitia Elizabeth Landon, ‘Love’s Last Lesson’; ‘Lines of Life’;  ‘Lines Written under a Picture of a Girl Burning a Love-Letter’; ‘Sappho’s Song’; ‘A Child Screening a Dove from a Hawk.  By Stewardson’ 311

Thomas Lovell Beddoes, Death’s Jest-Book and Lyrics 318

Part 5 Further Reading 325

General Critical Reading 327

Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743–1825) 328

Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803–1849) 328

William Blake (1757–1827) 329

Robert Burns (1759–1796) 329

Lord George Gordon Byron (1788–1824) 329

John Clare (1793–1864) 330

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) 330

Felicia Hemans (1793–1835) 331

(James Henry) Leigh Hunt (1784–1859) 331

John Keats (1795–1821) 331

Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–1838) 331

Thomas Moore (1779–1852) 332

Mary Robinson (1758–1800) 332

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) 332

Charlotte Smith (1749–1806) 333

Robert Southey (1774–1843) 333

William Wordsworth (1770–1850) 333

Ann Yearsley (1753–1806) 334

Index 335