• James Mulholland deposited The Past and Future of Historical Poetics: Poetry and Empire in the group Group logo of LLC English RomanticLLC English Romantic on MLA Commons 2 years, 3 months ago

    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.