Complete Story

O'BRIEN, Kathleen

Spring 2000, pages 77-92

Romanicism and Rhetoric: A Question of Audience

Abstract: This article explores the ways in which Romantic literary theory offers contemporary rhetoricians a balanced answer to the question of audience, an answer that allows for prose which reflects a private vision at the same time that it strives for social transformation. In connecting Coleridge's and Keats's hostile reactions to their nineteenth-century readers with current expressivist theories, especially the work of Peler Elbow, the need to avoid audience at certain stages in the writing process becomes apparent. Yet ultimately the most powerful writing is audience-centered, as Shelley's A Defence of Poetry illustrates through its call for imaginative empathy.

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