Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

Stephanie Kuduk Weiner:

60) Republican Politics and English Poetry, 1789-1874.

New York 2005

The author traces a strand of writers who “connected republican thought to the canonical tradition of British art and letters. (...) Politically, republicanism was a marginal movement marked by repeated failures and disappointments; intellectually, it was a powerful stream running through the main currents of culture.” Stephanie Kuduk Weiner’s revision of Victorian literary culture is based on a series of case studies that starts with Blake and Shelley and their strategies of demystification. She examines how republican poetry approached the mainstream in the middle of the 19th century via the works of the likes of Walter Savage Landor, Thomas Cooper and William James Linton. Furthermore she studies how the republican agenda was reflected in the oeuvres of established authors such as Arthur Hugh Clough and George Meredith. She comes to the conclusion that republican poetry “was a particular kind of discourse that did not simply record previously constituted ideas but shaped them.” She finds a “remarkable self-reflexivity” in republican poems, as they “continually justify their own existence as poems,” carrying with them “a theory of poetry and poetic agency.” The thesis is backed by the lexical strategy of some of Linton’s poems, which depart from the republican conviction that it is first and foremost the correct use of language that makes communal understanding possible.