This book attends to four poets – John Clare, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Edward Thomas, and Ivor Gurney – whose poems are remarkable for their personal directness and distinctiveness. It shows how their writing conveys a potently individual quality of feeling, perception, and experience: each poet responds with unusual commitment to the Romantic idea of art as personal expression. The book looks closely at the vitality and intricacy of the poets’ language, the personal candour of their subject matter, and their sense, obdurate but persuasive, of their own strangeness. As it traces the tact and imagination with which each of the four writers realises the possibilities of individualism in lyric, it affirms the vibrancy of their contributions to nineteenth and twentieth-century poetry.
Introduction: Lyric Individualism.- The Personal Voice in Nineteenth-Century Poetry: Standing Single.- Part I: John Clare: Striving to be Himself.- Clare I: ‘A Helplessness in the Language’.- Clare II: ‘Oddly Real and His Own’.- Part II: Gerard Manley Hopkins: Oddity and Obscurity.- Hopkins I: ‘Unlike Itself’.- Hopkins II: ‘To Seem the Stranger’.- Part III: Edward Thomas: A Personal Accent.- Thomas I: ‘Myriad-Minded Lyric’.- Thomas II: ‘Intimate Speech’.- Part IV: Ivor Gurney: Unquiet Achings.- Gurney I: ‘The Light of Newness’.- Gurney II: ‘A Person Named Myself’.- Epilogue: Three Later Instances.
Andrew Hodgson is Lecturer in Romanticism at the Department of English Literature, University of Birmingham, UK.
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