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What sort of thing is a lyric poem? An intense expression of subjective experience? The fictive speech of a specifiable persona? Theory of the Lyric reveals the limitations of these two conceptions of the lyric—the older Romantic model and the modern conception that has come to dominate the study of poetry—both of which neglect what is most striking and compelling in the lyric and falsify the long and rich tradition of the lyric in the West Jonathan Culler explores alternative conceptions offered by this tradition such as public discourse made authoritative by its rhythmical structures and he constructs acapacious model of the lyric that will help readers appreciate its range of possibilities“ Theory of the Lyric brings Culler’s own earlierscattered interventions together with an eclectic selection from others’ work in service to what he identifies as a dominant need of the critical and pedagogical present turning readers’ attention to lyric poems as verbal events not fictions of impersonated speech His fine nuanced readings of particular poems and kinds of poems are crucial to his arguments His observations on the workings of aspects of lyric across multiple different structures are the real strength of the book It is a work of practical criticism that opens speculative vistas for poetics but always returns to poems”—Elizabeth Helsinger Critical TheoryWhat sort of thing is a lyric poem? An intense expression of subjective experience? The fictive speech of a specifiable persona? Theory of the Lyric reveals the limitations of these two conceptions of the lyric—the older Romantic model and the modern conception that has come to dominate the study of poetry—both of which neglect what is most striking and compelling in the lyric and falsify the long and rich tradition of the lyric in the West Jonathan Culler explores alternative conceptions offered by this tradition such as public discourse made authoritative by its rhythmical structures and he constructs acapacious model of the lyric that will help readers appreciate its range of possibilities“ Theory of the Lyric brings Culler’s own earlierscattered interventions together with an eclectic selection from others’ work in service to what he identifies as a dominant need of the critical and pedagogical present turning readers’ attention to lyric poems as verbal events not fictions of impersonated speech His fine nuanced readings of particular poems and kinds of poems are crucial to his arguments His observations on the workings of aspects of lyric across multiple different structures are the real strength of the book It is a work of practical criticism that opens speculative vistas for poetics but always returns to poems”—Elizabeth Helsinger Critical TheoryWhat sort of thing is a lyric poem? An intense expression of subjective experience? The fictive speech of a specifiable persona? Theory of the Lyric reveals the limitations of these two conceptions of the lyric—the older Romantic model and the modern conception that has come to dominate the study of poetry—both of which neglect what is most striking and compelling in the lyric and falsify the long and rich tradition of the lyric in the West Jonathan Culler explores alternative conceptions offered by this tradition such as public discourse made authoritative by its rhythmical structures and he constructs acapacious model of the lyric that will help readers appreciate its range of possibilities“ Theory of the Lyric brings Culler’s own earlierscattered interventions together with an eclectic selection from others’ work in service to what he identifies as a dominant need of the critical and pedagogical present turning readers’ attention to lyric poems as verbal events not fictions of impersonated speech His fine nuanced readings of particular poems and kinds of poems are crucial to his arguments His observations on the workings of aspects of lyric across multiple different structures are the real strength of the book It is a work of practical criticism that opens speculative vistas for poetics but always returns to poems”—Elizabeth Helsinger Critical Theory


6 thoughts on “Culler J Theory of the Lyric

  1. says:

    An excellent account of major features of lyric poetry in the West from Sappho to Ashbery examining the strengths and weaknesses of various models of the lyric and focusing on such matters as lyric address lyric hyperbole the play of tense and the importance of rhythm Culler contests the appropriateness of the romantic model of lyric as intense expression of the affective experience of the poet and the now dominant notion of lyric as the discourse of a fictional speaker or persona whose situation the reader is to reconstruct Drawing on the classical tradition he argues that lyrics do not generate a fictional world but aim to speak of our world and that while lyrics often contain fictional element character incident they are at bottom not fictionalA very refreshing engaging look at a superb corpus of poems