The subject of Romanticism, Memory, and Mourning could not be timelier with Zizek’s recent proclamation that we are ’living in the end times’ and in an era which is preoccupied with the process and consequences of ageing. We mourn both for our pasts and futures as we now recognise that history is a continuation and record of loss. Mark Sandy explores the treatment of grief, loss, and death across a variety of Romantic poetic forms, including the ballad, sonnet, epic, elegy, fragment, romance, and ode in the works of poets as diverse as Smith, Hemans, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and Clare. Romantic meditations on grief, however varied in form and content, are self-consciously aware of the complexity and strength of feelings surrounding the consolation or disconsolation that their structures of poetic memory afford those who survive the imaginary and actual dead. Romantic mourning, Sandy shows, finds expression in disparate poetic forms, and how it manifests itself both as the spirit of its age, rooted in precise historical conditions, and as a proleptic power, of lasting transhistorical significance. Romantic meditations on grief and loss speak to our contemporary anxieties about the inevitable, but unthinkable, event of death itself.

chapter |16 pages


Romantic Forms of Grief

chapter 1|15 pages

‘Curse My Stars in Bitter Grief’

William Blake and the Songs of Loss

chapter 2|14 pages

‘Still the Reckless Change We Mourn’

Wordsworth and the Circulation of Grief

chapter 3|14 pages

‘Enfolded Close in Grief’

Coleridge, Introspection, and the Inward Turn of the Conversation Poems

chapter 4|17 pages

‘Chasten'd Thoughts of Grief’

Grieving Voices and Self-Consuming Subjectivity in Charlotte Smith and Felicia Hemans

chapter 5|17 pages

‘Sable Lines of Grief’

Posthumous Reputations and the Art of Forgetting in Byron's Poetic Ruins

chapter 6|17 pages

‘A Grief Too Sad for Song’

Shelley's Elegiac Voice and Poetic Voyages

chapter 7|16 pages

‘Grief and Radiance Faint’

Keats and Tragic Realisation

chapter 8|18 pages

‘Grief Searching Muse’

John Clare's Landscapes of Memory and Mourning

chapter 9|21 pages

‘Echoes of that Voice’

Romantic Forms of Grief in Victorian Poetic Birdsong