Wordsworth, Coleridge, and the Myth of Genius in the Long Eighteenth Century
“Genial” Perception offers a critical examination of Wordsworth’s and Coleridge’s naturalist construction of creative and critical perception and a historical study of the perceptual dimension of poetic taste. By exploring the philology of keywords and binaries inherited by the two poet-critics and used to describe and interpret their perceptual experience, “Genial” Perception traces how that experience reveals an unacknowledged indebtedness to discourse and language, having been silently and perhaps unconsciously shaped by patterns and trends in the literary culture in which Wordsworth and Coleridge came of age. “Genial” Perception is an authoritative, wide-ranging account of how the Romantic idea of creative genius—popularized by Wordsworth and Coleridge as an unmediated, transcendent, sui generis phenomenon—evolves out of traditional, common, critical languages, the philological demonstration of which grounds Romantic claims in history and culture while illuminating eighteenth-century aesthetics itself.
About the Author
William C. Edinger was Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.