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The All-Sustaining AirRomantic Legacies and Renewals in British, American, and Irish Poetry since 1900$
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Michael O'Neill

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299287

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299287.001.0001

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Introduction: ‘Original Response’

Introduction: ‘Original Response’

(p.1) Introduction: ‘Original Response’
The All-Sustaining Air

Michael O'Neill (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter is divided into two parts. The first draws upon an array of 20th-century poetry in support of the argument that Romantic poetry is a persistent presence in subsequent literature. This is the case even when later poets appear to differ greatly in their attitudes from Romantic poets. A case in point in Ted Hughes's ‘Skylarks’, which invites the reader to reconsider Shelley's ‘To a Skylark’ as both Neoplatonic and surprisingly realistic. It is argued that Hughes' poem enters its own poetic territory, yet it does so by virtue of its Romantic inheritance. More generally, it is suggested that post-Romantic responses to Romantic poetry allow us to understand how fraught and conflicted Romanticism is. Readings of poems by, among others, Donald Davie, Sidney Keyes, Denise Levertov, and Anthony Hecht conclude the first part of the introduction. The second part sets out in a more explicit way the book's purpose and method, including its stress on ‘aesthetic achievement’, its sense of the value of division, its sympathy with Albert Gelpi's reading of Modernism as post- rather than anti-Romantic, and its views of the work of previous critics who have written on legacies of Romanticism such as Harold Bloom. A brief chapter-by-chapter summary follows. Poems by such authors as Eliot, Yeats, Williams, Fisher, and Lowell are also mentioned.

Keywords:   Ted Hughes, Shelley, Modernism, post-Romantic, Sidney Keyes, Anthony Hecht, Harold Bloom, Denise Levertov, William Carlos Williams, Roy Fisher

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