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The Romantic Ideology

A Critical Investigation

Claiming that the scholarship and criticism of Romanticism and its works have for too long been dominated by a Romantic ideology—by an uncritical absorption in Romanticism’s own self-representations—Jerome J. McGann presents a new, critical view of the subject that calls for a radically revisionary reading of Romanticism.

In the course of his study, McGann analyzes both the predominant theories of Romanticism (those deriving from Coleridge, Hegel, and Heine) and the products of its major English practitioners. Words worth, Coleridge, Shelley, and Byron are considered in greatest depth, but the entire movement is subjected to a searching critique. Arguing that poetry is produced and reproduced within concrete historical contexts and that criticism must take these contexts into account, McGann shows how the ideologies embodied in Romantic poetry and theory have shaped and distorted contemporary critical activities.

182 pages | 5.50 x 8.50 | © 1983

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature

Table of Contents

Part I. Romanticism and Its Critical Representations
1. Distinguishing Romanticism
2. Some Current Problems in Literary Criticism
3. Two Normative Theories of Romanticism and Heine’s Critique
4. The Line of Coleridge and the Line of Hegel: Romantic Repetition and Romantic Reification
5. A Critical Theory of Romanticism: Heine on Uhland (The Romantic School, Book III)
Part II. Romantic Ideas, Romantic Poems, Romantic Ideologies
6. The Mental Theatre of Romantic Poems
7. Romantic and Non-Romantic Works: Comparisons and Contrasts
8. Wordsworth and the Ideology of Romantic Poems
Part III. Cassandra’s Gift: Romantic Poems and the Critique of Ideology
9. Coleridge, "Kubla Khan," and the Later Poetry
10. Phases of English Romanticism
11. Shelley’s Poetry: The Judgment of the Future
12. Byron’s Ideal of Immediacy
13. Romantic Illusions and their Contradictions
14. The Critique of Poetry and the Critique of Criticism: An Instance from Byron
Afterword: The German Ideology Once Again

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