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Secular LyricThe Modernization of the Poem in Poe, Whitman, and Dickinson$
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John Michael

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823279715

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823279715.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 19 October 2019

The Secularization of the Lyric: The End of Art, a Revolution in Poetic Language, and the Meaning of the Modern Crowd

The Secularization of the Lyric: The End of Art, a Revolution in Poetic Language, and the Meaning of the Modern Crowd

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction The Secularization of the Lyric: The End of Art, a Revolution in Poetic Language, and the Meaning of the Modern Crowd
Source:
Secular Lyric
Author(s):

John Michael

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823279715.003.0001

The Introduction sketches the alteration of lyric’s place in the nineteenth century. Poetry, which had been a primary purveyor of wisdom and consolation for a relatively homogenous society grounded in Christian belief, becomes a print commodity confronting a society in which contending beliefs—including beliefs in rationalism, science, and progress—have rendered naïve belief and the forms of wisdom and consolation that might attend it unavailable to writers like Poe, Whitman, and Dickinson who were acutely attuned to their times and sensed the hollowness of the discourses around them. They did not abandon lyric, but modernized it. The end of art—as Hegel put it—as the primary vehicle for belief or spirit does not mean the end of lyric but a proliferation of poetic practices and a turn from the conveyance of meaning to the interrogation of language and received ideas, a revolution in poetic language evident in the work of these three U. S. poets, which puts them near the advent of modernity in poetry.

Keywords:   Baudelaire, Benjamin, Dickinson, lyric, Mallarmé, marketplace theory, modernity, Poe, secular, Whitman

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