Rivermen examines the mythic context and psychological dimensions of the river and its source through an investigation of the recurring motifs associated with the source in classical and English literature -the heroic quest, the river journey, and the naiad or muse. Frederic Colwell focuses on the writings of those redoubtable rivermen, the English Romantic poets. He explores poems by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Shelley, showing that the image of the river is used in their work as a compelling archetype and a metaphor for the nature and process of the creative impulse. From the preface: "Unlike the rhythms of oceans, rivers have direction and a purposive flow. The river's will is always its own, not laid down by man, for whom the river passage demands a surrender to its will, its currents and eddies. To move with the flow is to course with time and change; to stand astride or view it from a height offers the prophetic stance by which we contemplate its entire passage, its past, present, and the brightening waters or rippling shoals ahead."