The Beauty of Inflections : Literary Investigations in Historical Method and Theory
Part of the Clarendon Paperbacks series
This collection of studies, which spans the past decade, was first published in hardback in 1985.
As well as exploring the fault-lines marking the various kinds of ahistorical literary studies from the New Criticism to Post-Structuralism, it develops a fully elaborated socio-historical criticism for literary works.
It achieves this by means of four special sets of investigations: into the relation between the so-called 'autonomous' poem and its political/historicalcontexts; into the relation of reception and history to literary interpretation; into the problems of canon and the characterization of period; and, finally, into the ideological dimensions of both literary works and the criticism of such works.
Whilst focusing largely on nineteenth-century works -among them those of Keats, Byron, Tennyson, and Christina Rossetti - its arguments are applicable to literary studies in general, and its emphasis throughout is theoretical and methodological. '... an outstandingly good book.' John Lucas, Times Literary Supplement'The essays exhibit wide and careful reading in the service of a criticism that is refreshing, even moving, in its advocacy of an old poetical ideal.' Victorian Poetry'Few practising critics can speak concurrently on scholarly, critical, and theoretical issues with the authority of McGann...
The Beauty of Inflections represents a major practical and theoretical intervention.' Modern Language Notes