Robinson And Shakespeare

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade May 2001

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Mary Robinson and the Shakespearean Romanticism.

In 1998 Peter Davidhazi provided us with, perhaps, the most accurate epithet for the nineteenth century literature, -- "the cult of Shakespeare."� The Romantic deification of Shakespeare is a well known, if not somewhat hackneyed in reference, phenomenon. However, its deduction is almost solely based on the writings of the socially and literary exclusive group of the famous six "while males"� (to use the postmodern labeling) "" Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats, -- with little regard for the other writers of the era. In order to get the whole picture of Shakespearean influence on the Romantic poetry, it is necessary to broaden our understanding of the Romantic literature enough to include in it those authors whose works, though for the most part overlooked today, were widely circulated during the nineteenth century and who played as great a part in shaping what we now term Romanticism as the unpopular then yet indispensably canonical now "Great Six"� constitute our conception of it today.

This reminder is, unfortunately, necessary, because a large group of Romantic authorship, which has been confined to silence for more than one hundred years by social prejudices has been unfairly accused of literary incompetence. However, at a close examination it becomes evident that the judgement, which doomed those works to oblivion, was not that of aesthetics. The poetical works of Barbaud, Smith, Baillie, Tigh, Hemans, Robinson, and Landon display intricate patterns of parallelisms and oppositions, ironies and paradoxes, skillfully illustrating the definition of good poetry of many literary critics of the nineteenth and twentieth century, and often overcoming in this skill some of the "Great Six."� And although it would seem logical for there to be some significant distinction in the works of these two groups of poets that could...