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The modern artist, especially the poet, aware of the creative achievements of the past and self-conscious in the face of that rich legacy, increasingly feels the difficulty of achieving anything new. In this reissue of a classic work in modern literary criticism, W. Jackson Bate presents a thoughtful and informed investigation of the responses of English writers to their perennial dilemma, concentrating especially on the period between 1660 and 1830—the first modern period to face the problem on a large scale—but making continual applications to the present day.