Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 May 2009
Something, anyway, was stirring. Whether polemical ‘experiment’, flaunted ‘innovation’ or coded ally of political ‘liberty’, a new poetry was refusing imposed or inherited forms as tyranny, as strictures of outworn prestige, institution or just plain old bad habit. The signs were everywhere. ‘I must Create a System, or be enslav’d by another Mans’, declared Blake’s Los (Jerusalem, plate 10). If Dryden argued that rhyme and metrical law were necessary to put ‘bounds to a wilde over-flowing Fancy’, Wordsworth, though hewing to metre and often rhyme, recoiled from ‘the bondage of definite form’. He went so far as to equate ‘all good poetry’ with ‘the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’. This last axiom is from his Preface to the second, signed edition of Lyrical Ballads (1800), a document that declared a refusal of ‘known habits of association’ in the production of and judgements about poetry. Looking back in 1817, Coleridge marked a watershed in Wordsworth’s ‘awakening the mind’s attention from the lethargy of custom’ and from ‘the film of familiarity’ – not only in modes of perception, but in the very excitement of poetic events. Shelley would soon raise the stakes in A Defence of Poetry, celebrating the power of poetry to transform everything within and without: poetry ‘strips the veil of familiarity from the world’ and, in correspondence, ‘purges from our inward sight the film of familiarity which obscures from us the wonder of our being’.
To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.
To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.
To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.