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On Form: Poetry, Aestheticism, and the Legacy of a Word


On Form: Poetry, Aestheticism, and the Legacy of a Word Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

What is form? Why does form matter? In this imaginative and ambitious study, Angela Leighton assesses not only the legacy of Victorian aestheticism, and its richly resourceful keyword, 'form', but also the very nature of the literary. She shows how writers, for two centuries and more, have returned to the idea of form as something which contains the secret of art itself. She tracks the development of the word from the Romantics to contemporary poets, and offers close readings of, among others, Tennyson, Pater, Woolf, Yeats, Stevens, and Plath, to show how form has provided the single most important way of accounting for the movements of literary language itself. She investigates, for instance, the old debate of form and content, of form as music or sound-shape, as the ghostly dynamic and dynamics of a text, as well as its long association with the aestheticist principle of being 'for nothing'. In a wide-ranging and inventive argument, she suggests that form is the key to the pleasure of the literary text, and that that pleasure is part of what literary criticism itself needs to answer and convey.

About the Author

Angela Leighton is Senior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. She is the author of a number of books, including Shelley and the Sublime, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Victorian Women Poets: Writing Against the Heart, as well as many essays on nineteenth and twentieth-century literature.

Table of Contents

1. Form's Matter: An Overview

2. Art for Art: On Pots, Crocks, Lyres, and Flutes

3. Touching Forms: Tennyson and Aestheticism

4. Aesthetic Conditions: Pater's Re-Forming Style

5. Seeing Nothing: Vernon Lee's Ghostly Aesthetics

6. Just a Word: On Woolf

7. Yeats's Feet

8. Wallace Stevens' Eccentric Souvenirs

9. W. S. Graham: In the Mind's Ear

10. Forms of Elegy: Stevenson, Muldoon, Hill, Fisher

11. Elegies of Form: Bishop, Plath, Stevenson

12. Afterword: Nothing, but

Product Details

Leighton, Angela
OUP Oxford
null, Angela
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literature/English | British Literature | 19th C
Literary Criticism : General
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
5.400 x 8.400 in 0.944 lb

Related Subjects

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» Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » Criticism and Discussion
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» Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
» Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
» Humanities » Literary Criticism » Poetry Criticism
» Science and Mathematics » Materials Science » General

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