Poems--specifically romantic poems, such as those by Thomas
Gray, William Wordsworth, and John Keats--link what goes
unremembered in our reading to ethics. In "Tintern Abbey," for
example, Wordsworth finds in "little . . . unremembered . . . acts"
the chance to hear the "still, sad music of humanity."
In "The Poetics of Unremembered Acts, "Brian McGrath shows that
poetry's capacity to address its reader stages an ethical dilemma
of continued importance. Situating romantic poems in relation to
Enlightenment debate over how to teach reading, specifically debate
about the role of poetry in the process of learning to read, "The
Poetics of Unremembered Acts" develops an alternative understanding
of poetry's role in education. McGrath also explores the ways
poetry makes ethics possible through its capacity to pass along
what we do not remember and cannot know about our reading.
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