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Chapter 3 - Thanksgiving after War

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 July 2023

Philip Shaw
Affiliation:
University of Leicester
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Summary

Focussing on a reading of the ‘Thanksgiving Ode’, and its accompanying shorter poems, this chapter sets Wordsworth’s post-Waterloo compositions within the context of broader, contemporary debates concerning the relations between war, religion, and sacrifice. While elsewhere in the Thanksgiving volume attempts are made to cleanse the ‘stains’ of a ‘perturbèd earth’, the ‘Thanksgiving Ode’ remains dogged in its attention to the human costs of ‘victory sublime’, an attention that, this chapter argues, should be read within the larger context of Wordsworth’s struggle to submit Imagination to the will of God. With memories too of how, in 1802, peace conflated the distinctions between union and disunion, legitimacy and illegitimacy in Wordsworth’s sexual relations, the ‘Thanksgiving Ode’ tacitly acknowledges the recent wedding of the poet’s daughter, Caroline Wordsworth-Vallon. Figured as the bearer of conflict and as a principle of restitution, Caroline hovers on the margins of the ode, a symbol of peace founded in war.

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Wordsworth After War
Recovering Peace in the Later Poetry
, pp. 94 - 119
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Thanksgiving after War
  • Philip Shaw, University of Leicester
  • Book: Wordsworth After War
  • Online publication: 06 July 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009363150.004
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  • Thanksgiving after War
  • Philip Shaw, University of Leicester
  • Book: Wordsworth After War
  • Online publication: 06 July 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009363150.004
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.

  • Thanksgiving after War
  • Philip Shaw, University of Leicester
  • Book: Wordsworth After War
  • Online publication: 06 July 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009363150.004
Available formats
×