Thomas Gray and Literary Authority: A Study in Ideology and Poetics

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Stanford University Press, 1992 - 269 pages
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"This book reads Thomas Gray's poems as existing in a dialogic relation with eighteenth-century English discursive and socio-cultural politics. It examines formal and ideological imperatives underlying the construction and effect of the poems, in the process considering the critical and literary-historical issues that arise from such an examination." "The author situates Gray at a moment in literary history when a gentleman-poet is caught in a troubled engagement with the contradictory attractions of the public and the private, of the anonymous market and of the self-selecting coterie. Gray's work is seen as ambivalent, too, about the great contemporary source of public authority - the celebration of mercantile and imperial power. His poems are structured by various versions of this dialectical interplay, and are witness to a poet's need for appropriate social, political, and ideological positions from which to establish poetic and cultural authority." "Throughout, the author focuses on questions of how best to read poems: how to work through the details of the thematic and formal construction of a poem; how to read in this construction the histories of literary, cultural, and ideological practices; how to unravel the discursive, representational, and cononical codes that allow (and encourage) readers to make particular sense of poems. Thus, Gray's poems are located within contemporary poetic theory and practices, and their formal and thematic elements examined not only in an internally dialogic state (that is, within the poem), but also in counterpoint with historical and contemporary discursive practices."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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