On Form: Poetry, Aestheticism, and the Legacy of a Word (Paperback)
  • On Form: Poetry, Aestheticism, and the Legacy of a Word (Paperback)
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On Form: Poetry, Aestheticism, and the Legacy of a Word (Paperback)

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£26.49
Paperback 304 Pages / Published: 18/09/2008
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What is form? Why does form matter? In this imaginative and ambitious study, Angela Leighton assesses not only the legacy of Victorian aestheticism, and its richly resourceful keyword, 'form', but also the very nature of the literary. She shows how writers, for two centuries and more, have returned to the idea of form as something which contains the secret of art itself. She tracks the development of the word from the Romantics to contemporary poets, and offers close readings of, among others, Tennyson, Pater, Woolf, Yeats, Stevens, and Plath, to show how form has provided the single most important way of accounting for the movements of literary language itself. She investigates, for instance, the old debate of form and content, of form as music or sound-shape, as the ghostly dynamic and dynamics of a text, as well as its long association with the aestheticist principle of being 'for nothing'. In a wide-ranging and inventive argument, she suggests that form is the key to the pleasure of the literary text, and that that pleasure is part of what literary criticism itself needs to answer and convey.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199551934
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 424 g
Dimensions: 216 x 139 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Angela Leighton's carefully argued defence of form and aestheticism is an extremely useful account of the debates surrounding these terms and the uses to which they have been put - by critics and poets - from 19th century France onwards, while also offering a resource for poets and teachers * Ann Reckin, Writing in Education *
...lovely and important new book... * Jeffrey Miller Tennyson Research Bulletin *
...absorbing study... beautifully written and richly rewarding book-replete with this sense of hope, surprise, and intrigue. * Matthew Bevis MLR *
...Leighton handles language so elegantly. ...this remarkable book instructs us throughits own practice how the dynamic expression of idea may itself be a form of literary pleasure. * Michael D. Hurley, The Cambridge Quarterly *
With a Paterian surrender to the beautiful and a Jamesian reverence for the critical proprieties of tact and attentiveness, On Form goes about its work of inspecting the unfixing of meaning without wanting to fix or finalise. * Rebekah Scott, Essays in Criticism, *

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