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Putting the Poetry in Order: Poems in Two Volumes (1807)

  • John Williams
Chapter
Part of the Critical Issues book series (CRTI)

Abstract

In the course of the last four chapters Wordsworth has become a poet of divided aims. Lyrical Ballads sets him in the public eye as a gifted but awkward poet. He is the author of short, unusual lyric pieces, of curiously obtuse narrative poetry like ‘The Idiot Boy’ and ‘The Thorn’, a poet who could excite sympathy and even admiration with ‘Tintern Abbey’, and after 1800 a poet on his way to becoming a laughing-stock in the reviews for his commitment to an eccentrically ‘simple’ style of poetry. While this is happening, and taking his career as a poet with it, he is also striving to compose The Recluse, an epic philosophical poem intended to stand alongside Milton’s Paradise Lost as a work of universal significance.

Keywords

Biographical Detail Literary Life Moonlit Night Romantic Sympathy Prose Work 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    See Kenneth R. Johnston, Wordsworth and The Recluse (New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 1984), p. xvii.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    John Powell Ward, The English Line ( London: Macmillan Press — now Palgrave Macmillan, 1991 ), p. 34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 4.
    Mary Jacobus, Romanticism, Writing, and Sexual Difference: Essays on The Prelude ( Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989 ), p. 69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 6.
    Frances Ferguson, Wordsworth: Language as Counter-Spirit ( New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 1977 ), p. 94.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    D. D. Devlin, Wordsworth and the Poetry of Epitaphs ( London: Macmillan Press — now Palgrave Macmillan, 1980 ).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 10.
    Geoffrey H. Hartman, ‘Wordsworth Revisited’, in The Unremarkable Wordsworth ( London: Methuen, 1987 ), p. 3.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    Marjorie Levinson, Wordsworth’s Great Period Poems ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986 ).Google Scholar
  8. Alan Liu, Wordsworth: The Sense of History ( Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1989 ).Google Scholar
  9. David Simpson, Wordsworth’s Historical Imagination: The Poetry of Displacement ( London: Methuen, 1987 ).Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Alan Bewell, Wordsworth and the Enlightenment ( New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 1989 ), pp. 222–31.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    Francis Jeffrey, The Edinburgh Review, XI (October 1807), 214–31, quoted in Romantic Bards and British Reviewers, ed. J. O. Hayden ( London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1971 ), p. 23.Google Scholar
  12. 17.
    Jonathan Wordsworth, William Wordsworth: The Borders of Vision ( Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982 ), p. 201.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Williams 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Williams

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