• The Past and Future of Historical Poetics: Poetry and Empire

    James Mulholland (see profile)
    GS Poetry and Poetics, LLC English Romantic, LLC Late-18th-Century English, LLC Restoration and Early-18th-Century English, TM Book History, Print Cultures, Lexicography
    Poetry, British territories and possessions, English literature, English-speaking countries, Postcolonialism, Poetics
    Item Type:
    historical poetics, postcolonial, British empire, Anglophone literature, Poetics and poetry
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    This essay suggests that with the increasing prominence of “historical poetics” as a set of social collectives, methodologies, and debates (especially about literary analysis), now seems to be an ideal time to assess its history and consider its future. The first part of the essay offers a genealogy of historical poetics, accounting for some of the central tenets of the group and considering detractors of these assertions, especially about the idea of “lyric reading” and the “lyricization” of poetry. The second part explains how the institutional history of historical poetics affects what it might become in the future, particularly if scholars expand its scope to include poetries not aligned with the 19th century Anglo-Atlantic world. It suggests how postcolonial literary studies and the history of empire might alter some of the original insights of the Historical Poetics group. The final section concludes with some thoughts on what historical poetics might reveal about intellectual labor in the professional literary academy. Ultimately, historical poetics is not only about how we study poetry, but is an extended conversation about the value of history in literary study and how historical change is valued (or not) by academic scholars. Scholars can use historical poetics to consider larger questions about how to distribute their attention and how it might be rewarded by their colleagues and professional organizations.
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    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
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