Romantic Complexity (Paperback)

Keats, Coleridge, and Wordsworth

By Jack Stillinger

University of Illinois Press, 9780252076374, 280pp.

Publication Date: December 23, 2008

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In Romantic Complexity, Jack Stillinger examines three of the most admired poets of English Romanticism--Keats, Coleridge, and Wordsworth--with a focus on the complexity that results from the multiple authorship, the multiple textual representation, and the multiple reading and interpretation of their best works.

Specific topics include the joint authorship of Wordsworth and Coleridge in the Lyrical Ballads, an experiment of 1798 that established the most essential characteristics of modern poetry; Coleridge's creation of eighteen or more different versions of The Ancient Mariner and how this textual multiplicity affects interpretation; the historical collaboration between Keats and his readers to produce fifty-nine separate but entirely legitimate readings of The Eve of St. Agnes; and a number of practical and theoretical matters bearing on the relationships among these writers and their influences on one another.

Stillinger shows his deep understanding of the poets' lives, works, and the history of their reception, in chapters rich with intriguing questions and answers sure to engage students and teachers of the world's greatest poetry.

About the Author

Jack Stillinger is Center for Advanced Study Professor of English, emeritus, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has published twenty-six earlier books, most recently Reading "The Eve of St. Agnes": The Multiples of Complex Literary Transaction.

Praise For Romantic Complexity: Keats, Coleridge, and Wordsworth

"This collection will please and inform readers. It is a sampler of the best of Stillinger, illustrating the critical consequences of fine editorial observations and modeling how seamless literary editing and literary analysis can be."--Keats-Shelly Journal

"This enjoyable and engaging volume collects pieces from across a long and distinguished career, usefully gathering between hard covers several old familiars as well as a few less expected things."--Keats-Shelley-Review

"Jack Stillinger helpfully brings together in Romantic Complexity a selection of his most important critical writings from the past three decades. . . . This book gives us several opportunities to ponder the relationship of Romantic scholarship to broader technological and cultural change."--1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics and Inquiries in The Early Modern Era