Spring 2000 • Vol. XXII No. 2 NonfictionApril 1, 2000 |

Heresy and the American Ideal: On T. R. Hummer

1. Any significant poetic based on romantic aesthetics must contain the impulse for, and then must enact, an overthrow of some sort. That is to say, the heart of romanticism beats most rapidly and vividly when rebellion is its design. America is an especially appropriate field for such principles to be engineered, given this country's history, its foundation on the precepts of insurgence and renewal. Samuel Willard's 1694 election sermon, "The Character of a Good Ruler"---itself an early but typical example of American zeal produced at the blending of politics and faith---anticipates by nearly a century this most astonishing paradox upon which the Declaration of Independence resides. Willard's assertion that "A People are not made for Rulers, But Rulers for a People" (254) invites the subsequent framers of the Declaration to determine that when a long train of abuses and usurpations ... evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it i

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David Baker is the author or editor of many books of poetry and criticism. His latest collection of poems, Whale Fall, was published by W. W. Norton in July 2022. Baker taught at Kenyon 1983–84 and began a long association with The Kenyon Review then, including service for more than twenty-five years as poetry editor. He continues to curate the magazine’s annual environmental feature, “Nature’s Nature.” Baker is emeritus professor of English at Denison University, in Granville, Ohio, where he offers two classes each spring semester.

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