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Chapter 5 - Late “Late Wordsworth”

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2021

Jeffrey Cox
Affiliation:
University of Colorado Boulder
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Summary

The final, two-part chapter treats the arc of Wordsworth’s poetry after 1820 up to his final volume of original poetry, Poems, Chiefly of Early and Late Years, in 1842. Treating explicitly the issue of Wordsworth’s age and the issue of the “late Wordsworth,” the first part of this chapter takes up his process of retrospection – looking back at his life – and re-collection – changing, reordering, and recombining his literary corpus. It touches upon the Ecclesiastical Sketches and Yarrow Revisited, And Other Poems.The second part treats “Memorials of a Tour in Italy, 1837,” an account Wordsworth’s long-delayed tripto Italy. Ironically, during the period of Wordsworth’s life when his poetry strikes us as being the least compelling aesthetically, he was probably at his most persuasive as a force within his own culture and society. Cox shows that the Italian memorials are an opportunity for Wordsworth to assert the power of his poetry in confronting not only a powerful cultural Other in Catholic Italy but also an Other Italy found or invented by Keats, Shelley, Hunt, and particularly Byron, ironically his younger precursors on this ground. Taking up topics from Wordsworth’s relationship to tourism to the religious valence of these last poems, this chapter concludes the overall argument that “late” Wordsworth developed in response to his younger contemporaries.

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William Wordsworth, Second-Generation Romantic
Contesting Poetry after Waterloo
, pp. 157 - 199
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Late “Late Wordsworth”
  • Jeffrey Cox, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Book: William Wordsworth, Second-Generation Romantic
  • Online publication: 10 June 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108946698.006
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  • Late “Late Wordsworth”
  • Jeffrey Cox, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Book: William Wordsworth, Second-Generation Romantic
  • Online publication: 10 June 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108946698.006
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Late “Late Wordsworth”
  • Jeffrey Cox, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Book: William Wordsworth, Second-Generation Romantic
  • Online publication: 10 June 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108946698.006
Available formats
×