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date: 07 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter pursues a balance between the qualitative considerations underpinning the traditional canon of authors producing odes and the need to make sense of the large number of odes never featured in literary-historical narratives. During the eighteenth century different conceptions of the genre coexisted, ranging from formalist models derived from classical practitioners of the ode and the Greek hymn to the productions of writers without a classical education who variously characterized the ode’s multifarious modes. Writers of odes aspire to sublimity while appropriating the genre to various occasions, both public-political-celebratory and private-pastoral, and to functions ranging from promoting religious views to conjuring up realms of the imagination. The chapter discusses well-known odes and odes that were published in alternative venues such as anthologies and periodicals, arguing that to recover the generic complexity of the ode, it is essential to examine poems recorded by the ESTC and those in miscellanies that are not.

Keywords: poetry, genre, odes, classics, imitation, sublime, genre

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