[(De Quincey's Romanticism: Canonical Minority and the Forms by Margaret Russett

By Margaret Russett

Margaret Russett makes use of the instance of Thomas De Quincey, the nineteenth-century essayist top remembered for his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and his memoirs of Wordsworth and Coleridge, to envision the belief of the "minor" writer, and the way it's with regards to what we now name the Romantic canon. Situating De Quincey's writing with regards to the "major" poets he promoted, in addition to the essays of Charles Lamb, William Hazlitt, and others, Russett exhibits how De Quincey helped to form the canon through which his profession was once outlined.

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Poets at this juncture, writes De Quincey with another bow to St. Paul, "everywhere felt themselves to be putting away childish things, and . . entering upon the dignity and the sincere thinking of mature manhood" (R174-75). Here De Quincey diagnoses the metahistorical "shift from the self as static . . "32 The disciple's personal cure intimates a collective translation into a new "stage of life" (C 107), a consensual picture of human nature characterized by the mastery of change as organic maturation.

Drawn up by myself for an anecdote that "impeach [es]" the doctrine of Wordsworth's poem (M 3:462). The citation identifies his biography as the standard of reality by which to judge the Lyrical Ballads. Thus it elevates anecdote to the level of "philosophical truth," a gesture authorized by Wordsworth's promise of ethnographic rigor. "I have at all times endeavoured to look steadily at my subject," the poet soberly declares in his "Preface" (PrW 1:132). The tension between such claims for documentary realism and the self-authorizing "principles" that Wordsworth deduces, like Kant and the economist Ricardo, "a priori, from the understanding itself (C65), invests even slight empirical adjustments with disproportionate prestige.

She had a rustic, woodland air, And she was wildly clad; Her eyes were fair, and very fair, - Her beauty made me glad. 12 The man instructs the little maid first by seeking particular responses, and then by editing and parcelling out the words she produces. The lesson to be learned is about subtraction: the girl, who persists in believing that her dead siblings count as family, should be brought to identify the personal pronoun with less than seven referents. To tame her wild will, the man must make her recognize a gap in her own consciousness.

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