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Poetry and the idea of progress, 1760-1790

Author: John Regan
Publisher: London, UK ; New Yok, NY : Anthem Press, 2018.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Poetry and the Idea of Progress, 1760-1790 explores under-examined relationships between poetry and historiography between 1760 and 1790. These were the decades of Hugh Blair's Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian, the Son of Fingal (1763) and Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (1783), Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765), Adam Ferguson's Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767) and Lord  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Literary criticism
Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: John Regan
ISBN: 9781783087723 1783087722
OCLC Number: 1022078772
Description: 211 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Responsibility: John Regan.

Abstract:

Poetry and the Idea of Progress, 1760-1790 explores under-examined relationships between poetry and historiography between 1760 and 1790. These were the decades of Hugh Blair's Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian, the Son of Fingal (1763) and Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (1783), Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765), Adam Ferguson's Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767) and Lord Monboddo's Of the Origin and Progress of Language (1774). In all these texts, verse is examined for what it can tell the historian about the progress of enlightened man to civil society. This book contends that several writers of tracts on history and poetics did not merely view verse as a sign of human progress. Rather, they recognized that the particular characteristics of verse (rhythm and metre, line endings, stress contours, rhyme, etc.) had special kinds of agency - that is, these had determining effects - on thinking about progress in the time. The special characteristics of poetry are read and, crucially, felt, as ways of understanding humankind's development from savagery to polish. The aesthetics of verse (understood as elements of taste in British discourse) mediates one's understanding of human development, focusing on how that mediation has a special shape and force that has never adequately been explored.

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