Poetic Form and Romantic Provocation by Carmen Faye Mathes (review)

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To be provoked by poetic form is to be disappointed in expectations conditioned by inherited patterns of reading and structured by forms and genres which were pressed into new shapes by the Romantics. Elegiac sonnets, lyrical ballads and tales, theatrical fragments, and political sonnets and odes—these experimental poetic forms constitute what Carmen Faye Mathes calls “a complex negotiation with deeply held expectations of and attachments to particular literary experiences” (1). Romantic play with form strides athwart the “anticipatory arcs” of reading through disruption, deferral, refusal, and other negative reorientations of readerly “structures of feeling” (as theorized by Raymond Williams) (1); it does so not in empty gestures of novelty, but to enact the strained relationality of lived experience in the flux of the social life of feeling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407–409
JournalEighteenth-Century Studies
Issue number3
Early online date18 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2024


  • Romantic poetry
  • Affect
  • Spinoza
  • Wordsworth
  • Coleridge
  • Keats
  • Shelley


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