John Thelwall pp 103-134 | Cite as

Odes I: Public and Pindaric

Part of the Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters book series (19CMLL)


The ode was Thelwall’s most ambitious and varied form, given a prominent position in the Derby MS, his critical essays, and the lectures from which they developed. Among his best poems, his odes illuminate the principles and extend the possibilities of this characteristically romantic genre, and several of them were written in conversation with the great odes of his contemporaries. At different times and in different contexts he gave them different names, classifying them according to intersecting traditions and purposes: Pindaric and Horatian, martial and Sapphic, amatory and congratulatory. Together with the sonnet (which he defined as an ode of a single stanza), they are at once influential and idiosyncratic, most exciting when they are most experimental, paradoxically breaking the rules he set in his own essays.


Generous Rage Public Voice Expectation Birth Romantic Irony Fundamental Prin 
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© Judith Thompson 2015

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