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Wordsworth and the Poetics of Air

Part of Cambridge Studies in Romanticism

  • Date Published: July 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108424950

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  • Before the ideas we now define as Romanticism took hold the word 'atmosphere' meant only the physical stuff of air; afterwards, it could mean almost anything, from a historical mood or spirit to the character or style of an artwork. Thomas H. Ford traces this shift of meaning, which he sees as first occurring in the poetry of William Wordsworth. Gradually 'air' and 'atmosphere' took on the new status of metaphor as Wordsworth and other poets re-imagined poetry as a textual area of aerial communication - conveying the breath of a transitory moment to other times and places via the printed page. Reading Romantic poetry through this ecological and ecocritical lens Ford goes on to ask what the poems of the Romantic period mean for us in a new age of climate change, when the relationship between physical climates and cultural, political and literary atmospheres is once again being transformed.

    • Examines Romantic-era poetry in the context of ecological and environmental studies
    • Explores how Wordsworth, in particular, marks a change in the meaning of 'atmosphere'
    • Considers how the shifting meanings of 'atmosphere', both scientific and metaphorical, affect our twenty-first-century readings of Romantic poets
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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108424950
    • length: 288 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Atmospheric Romanticism
    2. Atmospheric mediation
    3. Romantic meteorology
    4. Atmospheric aesthetics
    5. In the breathing chamber: 'lines written a few miles above'.

  • Author

    Thomas H. Ford, University of Melbourne
    Thomas H. Ford is a Lecturer in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. He has translated Boris Groys's The Communist Postscript (2010), co-edited A Cultural History of Climate Change (2016), and had articles published in journals including New Literary History, ELH, European Romantic Review and Australian Literary Studies.

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