Winter 1957 • Vol. XIX No. 1 NonfictionJanuary 1, 1957 |

The Correspondent Breeze: A Romantic Metaphor

M. H. Abrams THE CORRESPONDENT BREEZE: A ROMANTIC METAPHOR W / RITING IN I834, Henry Taylor noted that Wordsworth's attacks on i8th Century diction had succeeded in making poetry, in some particulars, more plain spoken. But Taylor also remarked that in effect a new poetic diction had covertly replaced the old. If Romantic poets no longer refer to the nightingale by the Greek name, Philomel, some of them refer to it by the Persian name, Bulbul; Taylor cites one reader who said "he had learnt, for the first time, from Lord Byron's poetry, that two bulls make a nightingale." Worse still are the stock words scat- tered through poetry "with a sort of feeling senselessness," such as "wild," "bright," "lonely," and "dream," and especially the word "breathing"; "to breathe," Taylor says, has become "a verb poetical which [means] anything but respiration." To this shrewd observation I would add that "breathing" is only one aspect of a more general component in Romantic poetry. This is air-in

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Professional Aesthetics

By M. H. Abrams

M. H. Abrams THE CORRESPONDENT BREEZE: A ROMANTIC METAPHOR W / RITING IN I834, Henry Taylor noted that Wordsworth's attacks on i8th Century diction had succeeded in making poetry, in […]

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