Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark - Reception and Legacy - Romanticism


The Romantic poets were more profoundly affected by Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark than anyone, except perhaps Godwin. The poet Robert Southey, for example, wrote to his publisher: "Have you met with Mary Wollstonecraft's ? She has made me in love with a cold climate, and frost and snow, with a northern moonlight." The book's combination of progressive social views with the advocacy of individual subjective experience influenced writers such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Wollstonecraft's "incarnational theory of the creative imagination" paved the way for Wordsworth's thorough treatment of the imagination and its relation to the self in Book V of The Prelude (1805; 1850). Her book also had a significant influence on Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1797–99) and Percy Shelley's Alastor (1815); their depictions of "quest for a settled home" strongly resemble Wollstonecraft's. The most striking homage to Wollstonecraft's work, however, is in Coleridge's famous poem "Kubla Khan" (1797; 1816). Not only does much of his style descend from the book, but at one point he alludes to Wollstonecraft as he is describing a cold wasteland:

A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

Read more about this topic:  Letters Written In Sweden, Norway, And Denmark, Reception and Legacy

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