29. The Matter of Genre in the Romantic Sublime

  1. Charles Mahoney Associate Professor of English
  1. Ian Balfour Professor of English

Published Online: 3 MAY 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444390650.ch29

A Companion to Romantic Poetry

A Companion to Romantic Poetry

How to Cite

Balfour, I. (2010) The Matter of Genre in the Romantic Sublime, in A Companion to Romantic Poetry (ed C. Mahoney), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444390650.ch29

Editor Information

  1. University of Connecticut, USA

Author Information

  1. York University, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 MAY 2012
  2. Published Print: 26 NOV 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405135542

Online ISBN: 9781444390650



  • matter of genre - in the Romantic sublime;
  • Australian poet John Kinsella, volume entitled Shades of the Sublime and Beautiful - collection of some sixty poems;
  • Edmund Burke's A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful;
  • late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries - high-water marks of the sublime, mode of cultural production and concern of critical thinking;
  • Romantic sonnet, articulating with the sublime - a mode arguably antithetical to it;
  • Shelley's “Ozymandias,” or Wordsworth's “Mutability” - melancholy sonnets of Charlotte Smith, or Keats's “On First Looking into Chapman's Homer”;
  • tension, between unrecorded history of the tree and the recording - nothing in Clare of, the self-satisfaction of those Shakespearean sonnets that know;
  • Coleridge's much-maligned “Hymn before Sun-rise, in the Vale of Chamouny”- example of a second lyric genre lending itself to the sublime;
  • Wordsworth's The Prelude, engages and reinvents - in serious fashion, the epic line from Homer to Milton;
  • In Wordsworth, preponderance of the subject - and a different sort of totality from what Hegel took to be characteristic of the genre


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • I

  • II

  • III

  • IV

  • References and Further Reading