Majestic Indolence

Majestic Indolence : English Romantic Poetry and the Work of Art

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This book examines the theme of indolence in Romantic poetry and demonstrates the rich variety of experiments preformed upon it by a quartet of poets, which focuses on Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley and Keats.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 234 pages
  • 161 x 233.7 x 21.8mm | 557.93g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195093569
  • 9780195093568

Back cover copy

Majestic Indolence examines the theme of indolence - in both its positive and negative forms - as it appears in the work of four canonical Romantic poets. Wordsworth's "wise passiveness", Coleridge's "dejection" and numbing torpor, Shelley's experiments with pastoral dolce far niente, and Keats's figures of "delicious diligent indolence" are treated as individual manifestations of a common theme. Spiegelman pursues the trope of indolence to its origins in the economic, medical, philosophical, psychological, religious, and literary discourses from the middle ages to the late eighteenth century. Offering an alternative to recent politically and ideologically motivated literary theory, Spiegelman looks closely at how the poems work. He argues for renewed appreciation of poetic style, literary formalism, and aesthetics as the best gauge to the Romantic treatment of nature and the sublime. The book concludes by examining the transformation of English Romanticism at the hands of two American heirs, Walt Whitman and Robert Frost.
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Review quote

Majestic Indolence offers itself as an unashamed defence of old-style aesthetic formalism ... the book offers a highly illuminating perspective on a dominant but neglected trope of romanticism. The chapter on 'Shelley's Versions of Pastoral', focussing on the poetry's verbs, is a model of scholarly rigour and sensitivity. Here the reading reaches beyond its conceptual limits to effect a brilliant commentary on the historicity of romantic
language. * Philip Shaw, University of Leicester, BARS Bulletin & Review *
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