The Absent God in the Works of William Wordsworth  book cover
1st Edition

The Absent God in the Works of William Wordsworth

ISBN 9780367608132
Published November 30, 2020 by Routledge
214 Pages

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Book Description

Called by one of its reviewers "Wordsworth’s biographia literaria," this book takes its reader on a fascinating journey into the mind of the poet whose attitude to God and religion points to a major shift in Western culture. The monograph probes the philosophical foundations of Wordsworth’s religious outlook, drawing attention to this First Generation Romantic poet as the author who happened to record in his verse the rise to prominence of some of the intellectual and spiritual challenges and the most troublesome uncertainties that have defined Western man ever since. The book constitutes a self-contained whole and can be read independently. Simultaneously, it creates an unusual duet with the companion volume, The Presence of God in the Works of William Wordsworth. These two works can be regarded as contraries—or negatives: one offering an ironically positive reading of Wordsworth’s religious discourse, the other offering a reading which is positively negative.

Table of Contents

ONE "Go forward, and look back"—

Wordsworth’s Theologies of the Future and Past Encounters


TWO "How exquisitely the individual Mind / . . . to the external World is fitted"—

The Absent Present


THREE A Recluse—

The Esemplastic Power of the Imagination


FOUR "The philosophic mind"—

The Author’s Method(s) for the Imagination


FIVE The Recluse—

The Presence of the Absence


SIX Retrospect—

The Presence of the Absence (Concluded): Wordsworth’s Discourses on God

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Eliza Borkowska ( is Associate Professor of Literature at SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw and the author of But He Talked of the Temple of Man’s Body: Blake’s Revelation Un-Locked (2009). She is currently working as a co-author on the first translation of Blake’s Jerusalem into Polish.


“This book is written with a passion that is unusual in academic criticism. It has a clear and coherent argument, but it is nuanced and discriminating as well as bold. It is rigorous, in its close attention to the minute particulars of Wordsworth’s craftsmanship, but it is also lively, witty, and consistently a pleasure to read.” Heather Glen, University of Cambridge, UK.