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Wordsworth: An Inner Life

ISBN: 978-0-631-20638-5
400 pages
February 2002, Wiley-Blackwell
Wordsworth: An Inner Life (0631206388) cover image
This original study is the first fully to acknowledge the impact of early grief on Wordsworth's poetry and to integrate it into a critical account of how his art developed from 1787 to 1813.

  • Looks at the impact of grief on Wordsworth's great poetry.
  • Explains the importance of the poet's great, unfinished epic 'The Recluse' to his work as a whole.
  • Includes 20 illustrations from original notebooks.
  • Contains the first annotated text of 'The White Doe of Rylstone'.
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List of Illustrations vii

Preface viii

Acknowledgments xii

A Note on Texts xiv

Abbreviations xv

1 ‘Perhaps my pains might be beguil’d 1

2 ‘In black Helvellyn’s inmost womb’ 20

3 ‘Charg’d by magic’ 43

4 ‘The world is poisoned at the heart’ 69

5 ‘Their life is hidden with God’ 88

6 ‘The vital spirit of a perfect form’ 118

Part I: October 1798-April 1799 118

Between Parts I and II: April-May 1799 134

Part II: May-December 1799 146

7 ‘Serious musing and self-reproach’ 167

8 ‘I yearn towards some philosophic song’ 189

9 ‘That vast Abiding-place’ 210

10 ‘I only look’d for pain and grief’ 231

11 ‘Forbearance & self-sacrifice’ 257

12 ‘O teach me calm submission to thy will’ 275

Epilogue 303

Appendix: The White Doe of Rylstone (1808 Text) and it’s ‘Advertizement’ 316

Bibliography 347

Index 361

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Duncan Wu is a Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford, and University Lecturer in English Literature. His numerous publications include A Companion to Romanticism (1998), Romanticism: An Anthology with CD-ROM, (Second Edition, 1998), Romanticism: A Critical Reader (1995), Romantic Women Poets: An Anthology (1997), an edition of William Wordsworth's The Five-Book Prelude (1997) and of William Hazlitt's The Plain-Speaker: Key Essays (1998), all available from Blackwell. He is also the editor of a nine volume edition of The Selected Writings of William Hazlitt (1998).
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  • Looks at the impact of grief on Wordsworth's great poetry.
  • Explains the importance of the poet's great, unfinished epic 'The Recluse' to his work as a whole.
  • Includes 20 illustrations from original notebooks.
  • Contains the first annotated text of 'The White Doe of Rylstone'.
See More
"A major achievement. A marvellous combination of profound scholarship and equally profound speculative insight." Professor Stephen Gill, Oxford University <!--end-->


"Wordsworth: An Inner Life shows that it is still possible to say new things about a life and a literary oeuvre which might seem, in outline, all too familiar." Times Literary Supplement


"This is traditional scholarship at its best, attentive to detail and immersed in a welter of poetic sources, which will no doubt be studied and absorbed by bright graduate students and Wordsworth experts." Times Higher Education Supplement

"In his reconstruction of Wordsworth's "inner life", Wu offers a compelling blend of biography and literary criticism." Religious Studies Review

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