The Poetics of Decline in British Romanticism (Cambridge Studies in Romanticism)

The Poetics of Decline in British Romanticism (Cambridge Studies in Romanticism)

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Jonathan Sachs
Cambridge University Press, 1/18/2018
EAN 9781108420310, ISBN10: 1108420311

Hardcover, 246 pages, 22.8 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
Language: English

Anxieties about decline were a prominent feature of British public discourse in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. These anxieties were borne out repeatedly in books and periodicals, pamphlets and poems. Tracing the reciprocal development of Romantic-era Britain's rapidly expanding literary and market cultures through the lens of decline, Jonathan Sachs offers a fresh way of understanding British Romanticism. The book focuses on three aspects of literary experience - questions of value, the fascination with ruins, and the representation of slow time - to explore how shifting conceptions of progress and change inform a post-enlightenment sense of cultural decline. Combining close readings of Romantic literary texts with an examination of works from political economy, historical writing, classical studies, and media history the book reveals for the first time how anxieties about decline impacted literary form and shaped Romantic debates about poetry and the meaning of literature.

1. From morals to measurement
scaling time, anticipating the future, and quantifying decline in Gibbon, Smith and Playfair
2. The decline of literature
acceleration, print saturation, and media time
3. The politics of prediction
Anna Barbauld and the ruins of London
4. On ruins
contingency, time parallax, and 'the ruined cottage'
5. Coleridge's slow time
6. Fast time, slow time, deep time
the pace of romanticism.