Cover image for Strange power of speech Wordsworth, Coleridge, and literary possession
Strange power of speech Wordsworth, Coleridge, and literary possession
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, 1992.
Physical Description:
xxii, 278 p.
Added Corporate Author:


Material Type
Shelf Number
Ebook XX(1320775.1) 1

On Order



This book explores the relationship between tropes of literary property and signification in the writings and literary politics of Wordsworth and Coleridge. Eilenberg argues that a complex of ideas about property, propriety, and possession sets the terms for the two writers' mutuallyrevisionary efforts and informs the images of literary authority, textual identity, and poetic figuration evident in their major works. Eilenberg's readings of the collaboration and its principle texts bring to bear a combination of deconstructive, psychoanalytic, and both new and literaryhistorical methods. The book provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between two of the major figures of English Romanticism as well as fresh insight into what is at stake in the analogy between the verbal and the material or the literary and the economic.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The Coleridge-Wordsworth relationship continues to bring forth substantial scholarship; that dynamic of literary, personal, and social exchange seems forever able to open itself to a renewal of interpretation and criticism. Eilenberg's particular slant is an attempt to deconstruct the language of property within the textualized relationship and to see that language as a primary trope, or series of tropes, by which to unpack signification. Her reading focuses on property, propriety, and possession, both as topics of poems, beginning with Lyrical Ballads, and as tropes for the complex conversation, intertextual and otherwise, which Wordsworth and Coleridge carried on beyond the 1790s. Her discussion is laid out across a wide and imaginative range from Wordsworth's decision to attach only his own name to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads and his later fascination with copyright law, to Coleridge's various plagiarized voices in the Biographia. This is a demanding, conceptually exciting book, most appropriate for graduate libraries; it belongs on the shelf with Stephen Parrish's The Art of the Lyrical Ballads (CH, Oct'73), Lucy Newlyn's Coleridge, Wordsworth, and the Language of Allusion (CH, Dec'86), and Paul Magnuson's Coleridge and Wordsworth (1988). D. Garrison; Spalding University

Table of Contents

Frequently Cited Textsp. xxi
I The Lyrical Ballads: Imagination's Entitlement
1 The Propriety of the Lyrical Balladsp. 3
2 Voice and Ventriloquy in The Rime of the Ancient Marinerp. 31
3 The Poetry of Propertyp. 60
4 "Michael," "Christabel," and the Poetry of Possessionp. 87
5 The Haunted Language of the Lucy Poemsp. 108
II Afterwards: Imaginations in Division
6 The Heterogeneity of the Biographia Literariap. 139
7 The Impropriety of the Imaginationp. 168
8 Mortal Pages: Wordsworth and the Reform of Copyrightp. 192
Conclusionp. 213
Notesp. 217
Indexp. 269