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Lyrical Ballads Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Tintern Abbey

Abstract This paper raises important questions concerning the “ethics” of criticism with reference to Wordsworth scholarship. Reviewing the major critical approaches to Wordsworth’s canonical poem “Tintern Abbey,” I explore their implications for doing literary criticism today. I begin with an analysis of the polemics between the New Historicists and their opponents regarding the defense of and attack on Romantic bardolatry. Then I investigate how the debate has subtly involved such issues as the critic’s attitudes toward the author, other critics, and the “unprofessional” reader, the respect for probable authorial intention, and the controversial questions regarding literary value and interpretive freedom. While applauding the recent “greening” of Romantic studies for its healthy dilution of bardolatry and its emphasis on the contemporary…