Review of Unfettering Poetry: The Fancy in British Romanticism
Author(s)Jackson, Noel B.
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Pity the poor Fancy. This faculty has long been the most misunderstood, underestimated gift of poets. When Samuel Taylor Coleridge (in the Biographia) codified the role of fancy as mere handmaiden to the sublime powers of the creative Imagination, he consigned this faculty to a position of ornamental irrelevance from which it has barely managed to escape. Fancy, Coleridge tells us, is the mere “DRAPERY” of poetic genius, “IMAGINATION the SOUL that is everywhere.” Superfluous at best and a positive obstruction at worst, the flimsy surface effects of the Fancy have on this account a subordinate relationship to the animating spirit of the imaginative whole. Since Coleridge’s time, the Fancy has scarcely fared much better in accounts of Romantic poetry and aesthetics. For nearly two centuries this faculty and its poetic embodiments have remained hidden in plain sight.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Humanities. Literature Section
Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net
Universite de Montreal
"Jeffrey C. Robinson. Unfettering Poetry: Fancy in British Romanticism. New York and Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. ISBN: 1403965137.", Noel Jackson; Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net (55):August (2009)
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