Home Books

What’s the Import?: Nineteenth-Century Poems and Contemporary Critical Practice

Two conspicuous features of the radical transformation of literary studies over the past three decades have been the dominance of theory-based interpretative discourse and cultural studies contextualizations. Both have greatly energized literary studies – but they have done so at a cost.rnrnKerry McSweeney critiques such readings of Romantic, Victorian, and 19th-century American poems. In What’s the Import? he proposes and exemplifies an aesthetic or intrinsic critical model rooted in literary-historical contextualization that considers the determination of meanings to be only one of the qualities that full engagement with a poem requires. His wide-ranging study discusses poems by Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Whitman, Dickinson, Carroll, Dante and Christina Rossetti, Swinburne, Hopkins, Hardy, and the Michael Field poets. What’s the Import? contributes to the current debates in North America about the state and direction of English studies and the teaching of literature in general.

About the book