isobel palmer A review of Jonathan Culler, Theory of the Lyric (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015). Cited in the text as tl. For a form so often characterized by its brevity, the lyric poem has been called upon to perform some large tasks: charged with providing an escape from the confines of the everyday, a passage out of time, and a way to transcend the human and the finite, it has been declared no less than "the privileged site for the unconcealment or presencing of Being and the happening of Truth" (Heidegger, as summarized in tl, 91). At the other extreme lie recent moves to question the viability of lyric as a category at all. According to this argument (most recently and comprehensively made by Virgina Jackson and Yopie Prins's 2013 critical anthology, The Lyric Theory Reader), the lyric as it is currently conceived--most specifically, Jackson and Prins claim, as the expression of personal feeling, but often even more abstractly, as simply "the essence of poetry, a poem at its most poetic"--is a category that arose only in the late eighteenth century.1 As the nineteenth century progressed, they argue, a complex of changes in the nature of poetic
Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Dec 2, 2016
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