Romantic Literary Criticism Criticism: Background And Overviews - Essay

M. H. Abrams (essay date 1953)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Abrams, M. H. “Romantic Analogues of Art and Mind.” In The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition, pp. 47-69. New York: Oxford University Press, 1953.

[In the following excerpt, Abrams provides an overview of Romantic aesthetic theory, explaining how it differs from earlier criticism.]

‘Didn't I tell you so?’ said Flask; ‘yes, you'll soon see this right whale's head hoisted opposite that parmacetti's.’

In good time, Flask's saying proved true. As before, the Pequod steeply leaned over towards the sperm whale's head, now, by the counterpoise of both...

(The entire section is 11969 words.)

Terry Eagleton (essay date 1984)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Eagleton, Terry. “II.” In The Function of Criticism: From “The Spectator” to Post-Structuralism, pp. 29-43. London: Verso, 1984.

[In the following excerpt, Eagleton describes the economic conditions of literary production in the late eighteenth century leading up to the emergence of the professional critic in England and the politically-based criticism of the nineteenth century.]

The bourgeois public sphere of early eighteenth-century England is perhaps best seen not as a single homogenous formation, but as an interlaced set of discursive centres. The collaborative literary relations established by the Tatler and Spectator find a resonance...

(The entire section is 4589 words.)

Paul A. Cantor (essay date 1989)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Cantor, Paul A. “Stoning the Romance: The Ideological Critique of Nineteenth-Century Literature.” South Atlantic Quarterly 88, no. 3 (summer 1989): 705-20.

[In the following essay, Cantor summarizes current critiques of Romanticism and the aesthetic theories associated with it, maintaining that such attacks are misguided and biased.]

And the poets lie too much.


I regret that limitations of space prevent me from discussing the essays on which I have been asked to comment in any detail, thus forcing me to deal with them at a level of generality which cannot do justice to the wealth of specific observations they...

(The entire section is 5970 words.)