First published in 1982. In this study of Wordsworth’s major poetry, the author explores the conflict between the poet’s celebration of an impersonal earth and his concern for the most intensely personal relationships. The opening chapter concentrates on Wordsworth’s struggle to describe the natural world and the extraordinary claims he makes for the natural landscape — which are shown to derive not from vague mysticism but precisely articulated common sense. The close readings of Michael, The Idiot Boy, Tintern Abbey and The Ruined Cottage, and poems as passages on solitaries are supported by generous quotations and discussion of other critical views.
Table of Contents
Abbreviations; Introduction; 1 The Types and Symbols of Eternity — ‘Crossing the Alps, The Prelude: (1805) vi. 488-572 and (1850) vi. 557-640 2 The Weakness of Humanity — The Ruined Cottage and The Pedlar 3 The Strength of Love — Michael 4 The Eye Among the Blind — The Idiot Boy and the Immortality Ode 5 The Eye of Nature — Earlier Solitaries: Old Man Travelling: Animal Tranquillity and Decay, The Old Cumberland Beggar and the ‘Discharg’d Soldier’ of The Prelude 6 The Mind’s Eye — Later Solitaries: Resolution and Independence and the ‘Blind London Beggar’ of The Prelude 7 The Reach of Words — ‘Spots of Time’ in The Prelude 8 The Burthen of the Mystery — Tintern Abbey, Surprised by Joy and After-thought; Notes; Index