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The Blind and Blindness in Literature of the Romantic Period

Edward Larrissy

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In the first full-length literary-historical study of its subject, Edward Larrissy examines the philosophical and literary background to representations of blindness and the blind in the Romantic period. In detailed studies of literary works he goes on to show how the topic is central to an understanding of British and Irish Romantic literature.

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I: Introduction: The Enigma of the Blind
II: The Celtic Bard in Ireland, Scotland and Wales: Blindness and Second Sight
III: Blake: Removing the Curse by Printing for the Blind
IV: Edifying Tales
V: Wordsworth's Transitions
VI: Coleridge, Keats and a Full Perception
VII: Byron and Shelley: The Blindness of Reason
VIII: Mary Shelley: Blind Fathers and the Magnetic Globe: Frankenstein with Valperga and The Last Man
IX: Conclusion.

About the Author

Edward Larrissy is Chair in Poetry at Queen's University, Belfast. The author or editor of seven previous books and editions, his latest book is Blake and Modern Literature (Palgrave, 2006).


This study of a fascinating and neglected topic from a methodologically current perspective is from an eminent and distinguished critic of Romantic literature. Its insightful readings significantly add to current knowledge of and thinking about Romanticism.
- Peter Kitson, University of Dundee
This is a timely and provocative book from an author who is clearly learned and illuminating. He sees the complexity of the theme as a literary representation and uses it to provide original readings, ranging from the classic forms of Milton to the street ballads and popular lyrics of obscure authors.
- Marilyn Gaull, Professor of English, New York University
"...the overal canvas of the book is rich and ambitious."
- Michael O'Neill, Studies in Romanticism