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.
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
Beginning with the publication of their joint collection of poems Lyrical Ballads in 1798, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge were instrumental in helping to establish the Romantic Movement as a major force in nineteenth century British literature. Two of the movement’s greatest figures, they were responsible for composing some of the most well-known poems in the British literary canon and influenced generations of acolytes. They were also the foremost literary critics of the period, contributing influential writings on literary theory and philosophy — exemplified by Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria.
‘Routledge Library Editions: Wordsworth and Coleridge’ assembles a wide range of scholarship and criticism that covers all aspects of their diverse output and charts the vicissitudes of their lives — examining their poetry, criticism, philosophy and sources of inspiration. It will also help introduce them to newer readers and explain notoriously difficult to understand works like Wordsworth’s The Prelude. This set reissues 14 books originally published between 1960 and 1991 and will be of interest to students of literature and literary history.