A brilliant collection of twenty-six essays from various academic hands, votive offerings presented to the eminent Boswell scholar, Professor Frederick Pottle. Oddly enough there's nothing at all on Boswell, though there are two studies of Johnson. The underlying theme investigates the changes in England's literary temper during the 18th century and the early years of the 19th, ranging from the urbane didacticism of Pope to the more oracular moods of Wordsworth and the other Romantics. The best pieces are general appreciations: Martin Price on the playfulness and preciosities of the "picturesque" in art, nature, and poetry, and M. H. Abrams' concluding paper on the style and structure of the lyric meditation. Blake's subversive metrics and unorthodox Christianity, the varying modes of self-consciousness in Coleridge, Byron, Shelley and Keats, the diction of Words-worth and Burns, reconsideration of Collins and Gray's Elegy, the development of the dramatic line in Pope and Johnson- these make up the more particularized excursions, each in its way showing how an elegant melancholic sensibility took on certain crises, what's usually termed "dejection" or the loss of a spiritual or personal wonder. A must.