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9780198129943: Shakespeare and the English Romantic Imagination (Clarendon Paperbacks)
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Although it is well known that the Romantics were obsessed with Shakespeare, little attention has been paid to the ways in which he influenced both their creative practices and theories of the imagination. This work presents the fascinating picture of how the Romantics read Shakespeare and the ways in which his work inspired and informed their own poetry. The book provides the first full critical discussion of Shakespeare and Wordsworth, explores the influence of the plays on the poetry of Blake and Coleridge, and offers a fresh account of Shakespeare's powerful presence in the letters and poems of Keats and Byron, and in Shelley's dramas. Taking issue with prevalent deconstructionist theories and Harold Bloom's ideas on "the anxiety of influence," Bate instead carefully illustrates the ways in which initial attempts at blind imitation were transformed into graceful poetic echo and allusion.

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Although is is well known that the Romantics were obsessed with Shakespeare, extraordinarily little attention has been paid to how this affected their creative practice and their theories of the imagination. Yet Shakespeare's effect on both was crucial, as Jonathan Bate shows in this detailed study, which includes the first full critical discussions of Shakespeare and Wordsworth, and of the influence of the plays on the poetry of Blake and Coleridge. The book also offers a fresh account of Shakespeare's powerful presence in the letters and poems of Keats and Byron, and in the Romantic drama, especially in Shelley's The Cenci
Review:
'notable... a study of something we thought we knew about but largely didn't' Frank Kermode, London Review of Books

'a pioneering work which sets new standards for 'influence' study' R. S. White, Shakespeare Survey

'an important book, and one that will be required reading for anyone concerned with Romantic literature.' Nicholas Roe, Notes and Queries

'a reinterpretation of the Romantics' remaking of Shakespeare in their own image, and also a triumphant vindication of their beliefs about the alchemical power of the imagination' Paul Dean, Year's Work in English Studies

'wide-ranging, well-written and highly intelligent... valuable and exciting' T. W. Craik, Charles Lamb Bulletin

'Persuasively learned, but wearing its learning with grace and ease' R. A. Foakes, Modern Language Review

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  • PublisherOxford University Press
  • Publication date1989
  • ISBN 10 0198129947
  • ISBN 13 9780198129943
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages292
  • Rating
    4 avg rating
    ( 3 ratings by Goodreads )

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