Professor Jacqueline Labbe: Smith, Wordsworth, and the Model of the Romantic Poet
Who, or what, is the model Romantic Poet? Is it the sincere and authentic persona who seems to inhabit so much of the poetry? Or should we view this figure with suspicion, as we do the first-person speakers of later Victorian monologues? This paper will read WIlliam Wordsworth and Charlotte Smith as keenly aware of the limitations of sincere poetic expression, and as using their construction of an autobiographical speaker to signal their distrust of this mode of self-presentation. At the same time, I will suggest that perhaps, after all, the model Romantic Poet is exactly that speaker for whom sincerity is so elusive.
This is part of the 'Modelling the Self' public lecture series.
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