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The Lake Poets and Professional Identity

$139.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Romanticism

  • Date Published: September 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521866385

$139.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The idea that the inspired poet stands apart from the marketplace is considered central to British Romanticism. However, Romantic authors were deeply concerned with how their occupation might be considered a kind of labour comparable to that of the traditional professions. In the process of defining their work as authors, Wordsworth, Southey and Coleridge - the 'Lake school' - aligned themselves with emerging constructions of the 'professional gentleman' that challenged the vocational practices of late eighteenth-century British culture. They modelled their idea of authorship on the learned professions of medicine, church, and law, which allowed them to imagine a productive relationship to the marketplace and to adopt the ways eighteenth-century poets had related their poetry to other kinds of intellectual work. In this work, Goldberg explores the ideas of professional risk, evaluation and competition that the writers developed as a response to a variety of eighteenth-century depictions of the literary career.

    • Departs from the myth of Romantic poets as unworldly to show how they constructed their own professionalism
    • Will be of interest to scholars of the professions in the eighteenth century as well as of Romanticism
    • Offers distinct readings of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Brian Goldberg’s richly instructive new study, The Lake Poets and Professional Identity, considerably deepens an ongoing conversation about the professionalization of the poet in the Romantic era. He confirms the complexity of the Romantic poets’ stance toward the literary marketplace,..."
    -Sarah M. Zimmerman, Fordham University

    "Collectively and individually, the Lake poets looked back to the examples of eighteenth-century predecessors—Savage, James Beattie, and William Cowper, in particular—both as representatives of a fading systemthat still held the appeal of relative stability and as protoprofessional figures already engaged in theorizing the terms of a new independence."
    -Sarah M. Zimmerman, Fordham University

    "Goldberg’s argument is built on nuance, half-identifications, and subtle differentiations,moving between text and career repeatedly to account for the Lake poets’ tenacious efforts to forge a new professionalism. This methodology succeeds in generating a thick fabric of poetic and biographical allusion but sacrifices some of the broader contours, both historical and argumentative."
    -Sarah M. Zimmerman, Fordham University

    "The primary benefit of this critical approach is the argument’s seamlessness; Goldberg weaves an intricate, substantive account of the poets’ sustained efforts in the late 1790s to create a new professional paradigm that should have us rereading their works for informative glimpses of that work in progress."
    -Sarah M. Zimmerman, Fordham University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2007
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521866385
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: professionalism and the Lake School of Poetry
    Part 1. Romanticism, Risk, and Professionalism:
    1. Cursing Doctor Young, and after
    Part II. Genealogies of the Romantic Wanderer:
    2. Merit and reward in 1729
    3. James Beattie and The Minstrel
    Part III. Romantic Itinerants:
    4. Authority and the itinerant cleric
    5. William Cowper and the itinerant Lake poet
    Part IV. The Lake School, Professionalism, and the Public:
    6. Robert Southey and the claims of literature
    7. 'Ministry more palpable': Wordsworth's Romantic professionalism

  • Author

    Brian Goldberg, University of Minnesota

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