The Anachronism of George Crabbe

Jerome J. McGann

in The Beauty of Inflections

Published in print August 1988 | ISBN: 9780198117506
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670961 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

The Anachronism of George Crabbe

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This chapter focuses on George Crabbe's poetic theory and practice alike, in order to highlight the chief fault-line in current views of the Romantic Period, so-called: that is, the inability of periodizations to provide an adequate critical account of the work of major figures like Austen, Scott, and Crabbe. In the critical terms which currently dominate discussions of the period 1789–1824, these figures seem only marginally significant. Yet a periodization which is unable to place such writers at the very centre of its historical-critical analyses cannot be regarded as adequate. The Romantic revulsion from Crabbe's poetry is understandable since the truths to which he is devoted institute a critique of the Truth which Romanticism sought to sustain: that ‘ruin and...change, and all the grief’ are transitory and epiphenomenal, and that Imagination inaugurates an absolute triumph over sublunary evil.

Keywords: poetic theory; Romantic Period; periodization; Wordsworth; Romanticism; George Crabbe

Chapter.  7265 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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