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Poetry and Politics in the Cockney School Jacket

Poetry and Politics in the Cockney School: Keats, Shelley, Hunt and Their Circle

by Jeffrey N. Cox

Jeffrey N. Cox refines our conception of ‘second generation’ Romanticism by placing it within the circle of writers around Leigh Hunt that came to be known as the ‘Cockney School’. Offering a theory of the group as a key site for cultural production, Cox challenges the traditional image of the Romantic poet as an isolated figure by recreating the social nature of the work of Shelley, Keats, Hunt, Hazlitt, Byron, and others, as they engaged in literary contests, wrote poems celebrating one another, and worked collaboratively on journals and other projects. Cox also recovers the work of neglected writers such as John Hamilton Reynolds, Horace Smith, and Cornelius Webb as part of the rich social and cultural context of Hunt’s circle. This book not only demonstrates convincingly that a ‘Cockney School’ existed, but shows that it was committed to putting literature in the service of social, cultural, and political reform.

Contents: Preface; or, the visionary company, INC.; 1. The ‘Cockney School’ attacks: or the anti-romantic ideology; 2. The Hunt era; 3. John Keats, coterie poet; 4. Staging hope: genre, myth and ideology in the dramas of the Hunt circle; 5. Cockney classicism: history with footnotes; 6. Final reckonings: Keats and Shelley on the wealth of the imagination.

1999    304 pp.
0521432073      Hardback        $37.50