A second edition of one of the most comprehensive critical studies of the poet since the 1960s.
This book presents the poet as balladist, sonneteer, minstrel, elegist, prophet of nature, and national bard. The book argues that Wordsworth’s uniquely various oeuvre is unified by his sense of bardic vocation. Like Walt Whitman or the bards of Cumbria, Wordsworth sees himself as 'the people’s remembrancer'. Like them, he sings of nature and endurance, laments the fallen, and fosters national independence and liberty. His task is to reconcile in one society 'the living and the dead' and to nurture both 'the people' and 'the kind'.
Part 1 offers a comprehensive account of Wordsworth’s early interest and his later researches into antiquarian matters and the contemporary significance of such interest. It includes readings of The Vale of Esthwaite, An Evening Walk, Yew-Trees and the pagan sonnets that introduce Ecclesiastical Sketches. Part Two considers the Salisbury Plain poems, The Ruined Cottage, Lyrical Ballads and the enlightenment ideas about nature underlying The Poem upon the Wye. Part Three explores elegiac Wordsworth in the 'Lucy' poems, his creation of archetypal heroes (Michael, the Discharged Soldier, the Leech-Gatherer) to people the Cumbrian landscape, and how Wordsworth reconfigured 'manliness' in such poems as Brougham Castle, Hart-Leap Well and The White Doe of Rylstone. Part 4 examines The Excursion, the political sonnets, The Convention of Cintra, the Waterloo poems, the 1842 publication of The Borderers and Guilt and Sorrow in the era of Chartism, and (new to this dition) the Intimations Ode.
A new addendum expands on the context of Wordsworth's notorious 'Thanksgiving Ode'.
"This erudite exposition, profligate with its ideas ... succeeds as few others have done in apprehending Wordsworth’s career holistically, incorporating all its diversities and apparent inconsistencies into a unified vision. It justifies fully the notion proposed by Hughes and Heaney that he was England’s last national poet."— Duncan Wu, Review of English Studies
This 420 page study is also in paperback at £17.96 from Lulu.com (rrp £19.95)
Also available in ePub and Mobi, but the PDF is much superior.
About the author
Richard Gravil is the author of Romantic Dialogues: Anglo-American Continuities, 1776-1862 (Palgrave 2000), and Wordswoth and Helen Maria Williams, or the Perils of Sensibility (HEB 2010), and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth (2015). He is Chairman of the Wordsworth Conference Foundation.
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