By Charles Mahoney

Via a chain of 34 essays via major and rising students, 'A better half to Romantic Poetry' unearths the wealthy variety of Romantic poetry and indicates why it keeps to carry this kind of important and critical position within the background of English literature.

Breaking unfastened from the bounds of the traditionally–studied authors, the gathering takes a revitalized method of the sphere and brings jointly essentially the most fascinating paintings being performed at the moment time.

- Emphasizes poetic shape and procedure instead of a biographical method
- gains essays on creation and distribution and the various faculties and events of Romantic Poetry
- Introduces modern contexts and views, in addition to the problems and debates that proceed to force scholarship within the box
- offers the main entire and compelling selection of essays on British Romantic poetry at present to be had.

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But Hunt did not think the versification of Endymion at all satisfactory. Indeed, he believed it to be absent: “His Endymion, in resolving to be free from all critical trammels, had no versification …” (2003a: 109). It is not hard to see why he reacted in this way when we compare Keats’s couplet-style with Hunt’s. The moderate ventilation of the couplet performed by Hunt, and his carefully calculated appeal to Dryden’s supposed Chaucerianism, contrast drastically with the much more shocking recourse (a recourse which, however, is as we shall see by no means total) to the most disorderly of pre-Wallerian seventeenth-century models in Keats’s poem.

All this is building up for an attack on Pope, but, of course, it could not have been written without that poet’s work – the Essay on Criticism is audible close at hand. “Her Voice is all these tuneful fools admire,” writes Pope; “breeze” had appeared as a rhyme-word not only in Winter but also as part of the Essay’s celebrated complaint against cliché-rhymes (Pope 1961: 93, 276–7, 279). Churchill just stops short of the one Pope there specifies, breeze / trees, by finding “seas” instead. The whole passage also recalls Pope’s mockery of those who pursue sound for its own sake in The Dunciad (Pope 1999: 316).

With strong invention, noblest vigour fraught, Thought still springs up and rises out of thought; Numbers, ennobling numbers in their course, In varied sweetness flow, in varied force; The pow’rs of Genius and of Judgment join, And the Whole Art of Poetry is Thine. (Churchill 1761a: 18) Churchill’s preference for Dryden develops the uses of imperfection. Pope’s fault is that he is too continuously melodious, so that the reader tires. Samuel Johnson may indeed have been thinking of just this passage when he suspected aloud that the complaint that Pope’s poetry was “too uniformly musical” might be “cant,” and that the complainants would “even themselves have had less pleasure in his works, if he had tried to relieve attention by studied discords, or affected to break his lines and vary his pauses” (Johnson 2006: 4.

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