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A History of European LiteratureThe West and the World from Antiquity to the Present$
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Walter Cohen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732679

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732679.001.0001

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Nineteenth-Century Poetry

Nineteenth-Century Poetry

Romanticism and After

Chapter:
(p.343) 12 Nineteenth-Century Poetry
Source:
A History of European Literature
Author(s):

Walter Cohen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732679.003.0012

Unconstrained by the inhibiting logic of realist fiction, nineteenth-century poetry—and especially Romantic poetry—routinely concerns itself with distant cultures and questions of empire. In lyric poetry, this predilection reverses the classical separation of the form from public affairs. Though the connection between literature and empire is not surprisingly strongest in England and France, it is a continent-wide phenomenon that assumes distinctive guises outside the two great metropolitan powers. One is the experience of victimization—oppression by another European power. The other is a tendency toward abstraction: if one’s country lacks colonial possessions, the turn to non-European civilization aids in reflection on apparently unrelated issues. These concerns are evident across Europe but especially in the poetry of Pushkin, Mickiewicz, and Leopardi.

Keywords:   nineteenth-century poetry, Romantic poetry, lyric, literature and empire, Pushkin, Mickiewicz, Leopardi

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