To the Sunless Land (1831–50)

  • F. B. Pinion
Part of the Macmillan Literary Companions book series (LICOM)


At the end of 1831 and in the early months of 1832, Wordsworth revised The Prelude. It was a rewarding pastime during a troubled period. He had little respite from trachoma; Dorothy’s illness worsened; and fears of Reform grew until the passing of the Reform Bill in June, when he was certain that the flood-gates had been opened to a torrent which threatened to sweep all before it. Friendship with Dr Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby School, brought relief, though Arnold was politically progressive. In the summer of 1832 they climbed Helvellyn, Wordsworth thinking sadly of his ascent with Scott and others, several of whom were dead or sinking. (Ten days earlier Sir Walter had been brought home in a coma from Naples; he died in September.) Wordsworth helped to negotiate the purchase of the Fox How estate, where the house which became the Arnold holiday home was built.


Rheumatic Fever Natural Beauty Contemporary Poetry Poetic Inspiration Poet Laureate 
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  1. 2.
    F. M. Todd, Politics and the Poet, A Study of Wordsworth, London, 1957, pp. 226–8.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    In a note to 1. 171 of An Evening Walk (1793), Wordsworth states, for the benefit of the ‘curious traveller’, that ‘up the Duddon … may be found some of the most romantic scenery’ in the Lake District.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    A.M. Terhune and A. B. Terhune (eds), The Letters of Edward FitzGerald, Princeton, 1980, vol. I, p. 60;Google Scholar
  4. And Robert B. Martin, Tennyson: The Unquiet Heart, Oxford, 1980, p. 126. 1830 had been a year of revolutionary outbreaks in Europe, one leading to Belgian independence.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Mrs Humphry Ward, A Writer’s Recollections, London, 1919, p. 76.Google Scholar

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© F. B. Pinion 1984

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  • F. B. Pinion

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