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Semblances of truth: The Romantic lyric revisited

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Peer-reviewed

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jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pThe ‘Romantic lyric’ as an idea or critical entity finds itself doubly maligned in contemporary lyric studies. As a perceived product of New Criticism, it finds itself accused by historicists of bringing about the ‘lyricisation’ of poetry in twentieth‐century criticism, and, as a mimetic model of subjective expression, it’s disfavoured by lyric theorists who view it as a stepping stone towards the currently common misconception that lyrics are a species of dramatic monologue. Yet returning to the Romantics themselves, we discover other models of the lyric that sit outside the expressive model or the paradigm of lyricisation, and which may well be of use to contemporary lyric studies. This essay offers a reading of one such model in the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in the form of lyric’s semblance character: Coleridge is peculiarly and persistently concerned with the way the world appears to be (which is often not how the world really is), and his lyric poetry figures as a kind of seemingness in its own right, and one that reflects on the nature of appearances themselves. Before making a case for lyric semblance, this essay offers an overview of the state of lyric studies today, taking as exemplary the work of Virginia Jackson and Jonathan Culler; it places emphasis on the role of the ‘Romantic lyric’ in both accounts, and teases out some of what’s at stake in the tension between historicism and formalism that is at the centre of lyric studies today.</jats:p>

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Keywords

47 Language, Communication and Culture, 4705 Literary Studies

Journal Title

Literature Compass

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Journal ISSN

1741-4113
1741-4113

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Publisher

Wiley