History of English Literature: A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers :
Critical Estimates of Romantic
criticism (William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe
Shelley, Margaret Fuller and Ralph Waldo Emerson)
NET ENGLISH QUESTION BANK
William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- Wordsworth was primarily a poet and not a critic. He has left behind him no comprehensive treatise on Criticism. The bulk of his literary criticism is small yet "the core of his literary criticism is as inspired as his poetry".
- "He knew about poetry in the real sense, and he has not said even a single word about poetry", says Chapman, "which is not valuable, and worth thinking over". Also read the other set of A to Z (Objective Questions)
- Wordsworth's criticism is of far-reaching historical significance. When Wordsworth started, it was the Neo-classical criticism, which held the day-Wordsworth is the first critic to turn from the poetry to its substance; builds a theory of poetry, and gives an account of the nature of the creative process.
- His is the emphasis on novelty, experiment, liberty, spontaneity, inspiration and imagination, as contrasted with the classical emphasis on authority, tradition, and restraint.
- Wordsworth's 'Preface' is an unofficial manifesto of the English Romantic Movement giving it a new direction, consciousness and program.
- Wordsworth says:"All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings recollection in tranquility."Read More about Criticism
- Scott James says:"He discards Aristotelian doctrine. For him, the plot, or situation, is not the first thing. It is the feeling that matters."Reacting against the artificiality of 18th century poetry, he advocates simplicity both in theme and treatment. He advocates a deliberate choice of subject from "humble and rustic life".
- English poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge gave memorable expression to the romantic mindset developed by their German predecessors and contemporaries.
- The pleasure derived from the writing and reading of poetry were to Wordsworth a loving “acknowledgment of the beauty of the universe” and an indication that the human mind was “the mirror of the fairest and most interesting properties of nature.” The critical writings of Coleridge in turn stressed the parallel between cosmic creativity and the poet’s godlike creative imagination. Also read the other set of A to Z (Objective Questions)
- In A Defence of Poetry (written 1821; published 1840), English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley elaborated on romantic themes.
- Shelley suggested that the utilitarian science and technology of his time enhanced the “inequality of mankind” and that poetry should continue to serve as an antidote to “the principle of the self, of which money is the visible incarnation.” Also read the other set of A to Z (Objective Questions)
- Throughout the Defence, Shelley speaks of poetry in a very broad sense as visionary discourse.
- In the essay “The Poet” (written 1842-1843), Ralph Waldo Emerson argued that the poet uses symbols more appropriately than the religious mystic does, because the poet recognizes the multiple meanings of symbols and the ability of language to reflect a continuously changing world, whereas the mystic “nails” symbols to a specific meaning. Also read the other set of A to Z (Objective Questions)
- In a lecture on “The Poetic Principle” (1848), Edgar Allan Poe expressly distinguished pure intellect from taste and moral sense. In Poe’s view, poets need to “tone down in proper subjection to beauty” all “incitements of passion,””precepts of duty,” and “lessons of truth” so that the resulting work may be sensitively judged by our faculty of taste. Read More about Criticism
- In “A Short Essay on Critics”(1840), American author and editor Margaret Fuller described three kinds of literary criticism: subjective indulgence in the critic’s own feelings about a text, apprehensive entry into the author’s world, and comprehensive judging of a work both by its own law and according to universal principles.Read More about Criticism
- These categories anticipate the distinctions made by English poet-critic Matthew Arnold between three kinds of critical estimations of the value of a literary work: the personal, the historical, and the real. In his essay on “The Study of Poetry” (1880), Arnold assigned great cultural significance to the unbiased critic’s “real estimates” because, in an increasingly nonreligious time, “mankind will discover that we have to turn to poetry to interpret life for us, to console us, to sustain us.” Yet he believed that critics themselves would have to transcend the narrowness of their own society to perform their role of spiritual guidance. Also read the other set of A to Z (Objective Questions)
- Only by exploring a variety of cultural traditions could they learn and teach “the best” that has been “known and thought in the world,” Arnold cautioned in his essay “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time” (1865).Read More about Criticism