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The All-Sustaining Air: Romantic Legacies and Renewals in British, American, and Irish Poetry since 1900
 
 

The All-Sustaining Air: Romantic Legacies and Renewals in British, American, and Irish Poetry since 1900 [Kindle Edition]

Michael O'Neill

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Review

the reader is constantly challenged and delighted (Studies in Romanticism)

His readings are beyond facile summary, but this is a masterly book from a reader who has an enormous command of twentieth-century poetry alongside a unique and justly renowned insight into the writing of Romanticism. (Matthew Scott, Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net)

...suggests the literary persistence of Romantic norms in British, Irish, and American poetry since the early 1900s, primarily by dwelling on the image of "air." His angle on W. H. Auden, in particular, illustrates the complex and subtle response of modern attempts to renew Romantic lyricism in a post-Romantic world. (Larry H. Peer, Prism(s))

[Michael O'Neill] extends his range to more recent poetry in (Kristen Guest, Keats-Shelley Journal)

in finely nuanced readings we have come to expect of him, showing the complexity by which words and associations circulate between texts and among authors... O'Neill offers an exemplary, flexible model and a potent reminder of the value of close reading.

continues [O'Neill's] commitment to the importance of close reading and sustained attention to the detail of poetics. The book opens with a superb chapter that takes the Romantic use of 'air' and runs with it...The book is as important for Romanticists who neatly divide their own period from what follows as it is for twentieth-century scholars who too lazily read the work of modern poets as rejecting a conservative or bombastic Romantic paradigm. (David Stewart, The Year's Work in English Studies)

The influence of Romantic poetry on poets since 1900 is a significant matter... Michael O'Neill is an ideal commentator on this topic. He is convinced of the importance of this relationship for understanding modern poetry, but he is also the most non-reductionist of critics, capable of registering and explicating the unique character of a particular poetic handling or embodiment of theme, in full sensitivity to the interpretive force of form or language ... This book will prove to be essential reading (Edward Larrissy, Romanticism)

For a slim book, this is a study of remarkable latitude, and the ambitious range provides (Sarah Bennett, Notes and Queries)

its major distinction ... [O'Neill] has published previously on the question of 'Poetry As Criticism', and

succeeds in animating the Bloomian proposition of influence as a form of critical re-writing, with a close attention to the mutuality of disciplines

O'Neill's readings across a great range of poets and poems are wonderfully intricate and sophisticated, inward with the poetry discussed, alert to hidden allusion and predictably subtle about formal choice and nuance. (Steve Matthews, BARS Bulletin & Review)

a stunning array of sophisticated associations to poets and poetic outcomes... (Jeffrey C. Robinson, The Wordsworth Circle)

...can sustain ...critique, even invite it, because it succeeds so completely in laying out the lineaments of a tradition and does do by that most convincing of methods, the celebration of the poems that comprise it, through careful, imaginative, even poetic, close readings.

Air, but never hot air, is everywhere in this cleverly written, eloquent book that is so aware of word-play and the cosmos of echoes. (Guy Cuthbertson, Keats-Shelley Review)

inspiring ... O'Neill ... employs "double responsiveness" by reading poetry "as literary criticism", by allowing the poem to be the "place where the finest and most nuanced reading of a previous poem or poetry occurs" ... One could not wish for a more attuned, erudite guide to these poems than O'Neill. (Heidi Thomson, Modern Language Review)

Product Description

Drawn from Shelley's Prometheus Unbound, the title of this book suggests the cultural and literary persistence of the Romantic in the work of many British, American, and Irish poets since 1900. Allowing for and celebrating the multiple, even fractured nature of Romantic legacies, Michael O'Neill focuses on the creative impact of Romantic poetry on twentieth- and twenty-first century poetry. Individual chapters embrace numerous authors and texts, and span different cultures; the intention is not the forlorn hope of completeness, but the wish to open up possibilities and intersections, and there is a strong sense throughout of poetry serving as a subtle and profound form of literary criticism.

A wide-ranging introduction analyses the persistence of the Romantic in poets such as Ted Hughes, Wilfred Owen, Robert Frost, Denise Levertov, Robert Lowell, and others, and sets the scene for subsequent discussions. Chapter 1 dwells on images of 'air', using these to understand the efforts of a number of twentieth-century poets to 'sustain' Romanticism, or forms of it. Chapters 2 and 3 focus on Yeats and Eliot, respectively, the latter apparently shunning the Romantic, the former seeming to embrace it, but both responding with subtlety and individuality to the Romantic bequest. Chapter 4 argues that Wallace Stevens's 'Esthetique du Mal' should be read as a work that illuminates the writings of the major Romantics, especially about evil and suffering. Chapter 5 discusses the work of W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender, exploring the complex response of both poets to the Romantic, Auden complicated in his post-Romantic attitudes, Spender daring in his attempts to renew a Romantic lyricism in a post-Romantic age. Chapter 6 returns to a broader sweep as it investigates the response of a range of contemporary poets from Northern Ireland, including Heaney, Kavanagh, Mahon, and Carson, to Romantic poetry. Chapter 7 sustains the Irish connection, discussing Paul Muldoon's dealings with Byron and other Romantics, especially in Madoc. And Chapter 8 focuses on Geoffrey's Hill's tense and tensed relations with Romantic poetry, and on Roy Fisher's sense of being a 'gutted Romantic', in order to illustrate two diverse ways of being post-Romantic in contemporary culture.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2889 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (11 Nov 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001D4WFGO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
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