William Wordsworth's poetry responded to the enormous literary, political, cultural, technological and social changes that the poet lived through during his lifetime (1770‒1850), and to his own transformation from young radical inspired by the French Revolution to Poet Laureate and supporter of the establishment. The poet of the 'egotistical sublime' who wrote the pioneering autobiographical masterpiece, The Prelude, and whose work is remarkable for its investigation of personal impressions, memories and experiences, is also the poet who is critically engaged with the cultural and political developments of his era. William Wordsworth in Context presents thirty-five concise chapters on contexts crucial for an understanding and appreciation of this leading Romantic poet. It focuses on his life, circle, and composition; on his reception and influence; on the significance of late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century literary contexts; and on the historical, political, scientific and philosophical issues that helped to shape Wordsworth's poetry and prose.
Table of Contents
Preface; Chronology; Part I. Life and Works: 1. Biography Stephen Gill; 2. The Wordsworth circle Susan M. Levin; 3. Dorothy Wordsworth Judith W. Page; 4. Composition and revision Sally Bushell; 5. Prose Tim Milnes; Part II. Reception and Influence: 6. The critical reception, 1793–1806 David Higgins; 7. The critical reception, 1807–18 Peter Simonsen; 8. The critical reception, 1819–50 Richard Cronin; 9. English poetry, 1900–30 Michael O'Neill; 10. Wordsworth now Maureen N. McLane; Part III. Literary Traditions: 11. Eighteenth-century poetry Kevis Goodman; 12. The ballad tradition Daniel Cook; 13. The pastoral-georgic tradition David Fairer; 14. The popular tradition Ann Wierda Rowland; 15. Elegy Paul H. Fry; 16. The sonnet Daniel Robinson; 17. Autobiography Josh Wilner; 18. Epitaphs and inscriptions Samantha Matthews; 19. Sensibility, sympathy and sentiment James Chandler; Part IV. Cultural and Historical Contexts: 20. Revolution John Bugg; 21. Poverty and crime Toby Benis; 22. Europe Michael Ferber; 23. War Simon Bainbridge; 24. Nature and the environment Scott Hess; 25. London Christopher Stokes; 26. Family and friendship Anne D. Wallace; 27. Education Frances Ferguson; 28. Animals Kurt Fosso; 29. Philosophy Stuart Allen; 30. Religion Jonathan Roberts; 31. The senses Noel Jackson; 32. Language Alexander Regier; 33. The sublime Philip Shaw; 34. Walking and travel Robin Jarvis; 35. Painting, spectacle and the visual Sophie Thomas; Further reading.