William Wordsworth

by John Williams

Part of the Critical Issues Series

William Wordsworth Synopsis

From the earliest reviews of his poetry, readers were deeply divided on the merits of William Wordsworth's work. John Williams looks in detail at the major poems and discusses the critical issues that have dominated discussions of Wordsworth's compositions since they first began to appear in print after 1798. Beginning with a fresh assessment of the controversies that developed around Lyrical Ballads, the chapters trace the evolution of both Wordsworth's poetry and his reputation through to his death in 1850. At each stage, Williams investigates the possible reasons why critics and readers responded as they did: enraged by his revolutionary 'Jacobinism' at the turn of the eighteenth century; insulted by the 'simplicity' of the Poems in Two Volumes of 1807; reassured by his commitment to Nature and his reverence for Church and State in the early Victorian period. In the twentieth century, Wordsworth has been subjected to a series of extensive critical reappraisals. With reference to a wide range of the poetry, Williams goes on to discuss the way Wordsworth has been variously reconstructed as a consequence of the main critical and theoretical initiatives of the last one hundred years. He also examines the Wordsworth we have inherited for the twenty-first century: a poet many still feel has important things to say to the contemporary reader about human relationships, nature, the environment, and our imaginative life.

William Wordsworth Press Reviews

'A good critical introduction to Wordsworth, introducing...critical issues current in modern readings of Wordsworth's poetry. This is a valuable guide for students and more advanced readers of Wordsworth.' - Nicholas Roe, University of St Andrews 'A provocative addition to an ongoing debate...Highly recommended.' - G.A. Cevasco, Choice

Book Information

ISBN: 9780333687338
Publication date: 12th August 2002
Author: John Williams
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 267 pages
Categories: Literary studies: poetry & poets, Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900 ,

About John Williams

JOHN WILLIAMS is a Reader in Literary Studies in the School of Humanities at the University of Greenwich. His publications include books on English poetry, Mary Shelley, and Wordsworth, including the edited volume on Wordsworth in Palgrave's New Casebooks series.

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