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Chapter 6 - Wordsworth after Byron

Memorials of a Tour on the Continent, 1820

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 July 2023

Philip Shaw
Affiliation:
University of Leicester
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Summary

Memorials of a Tour of the Continent, 1820 follows the poet’s course down the Rhine and the Rhône, revisiting scenes that, thirty years earlier, had provided a setting for dreams of radical rebirth. Wordsworth’s battle with the past is intensified by another, more pressing conflict: a spat with Lord Byron, who in Canto 3 of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage had forged an impression of post-war Europe heavily indebted to Wordsworth. In many respects the Memorials can be read as an effort to defend a reputation that, in Wordsworth’s eyes, had been traduced by Byron, while attempting at the same time to correct the pro-Napoleonic sentiments that, on account of the popularity of Childe Harold, had been allowed to cast a pall on the legitimacy of the post-war settlement. The Memorials make clear that Wordsworth’s efforts to make peace with his own history, a history informed by the conflicted history of Europe, remained unresolved and that by returning to the restorative channels of youth the poet had, in fact, merely reinitiated the repetitive cycle in which peace is coupled with war.

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Wordsworth After War
Recovering Peace in the Later Poetry
, pp. 174 - 208
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Wordsworth after Byron
  • Philip Shaw, University of Leicester
  • Book: Wordsworth After War
  • Online publication: 06 July 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009363150.007
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  • Wordsworth after Byron
  • Philip Shaw, University of Leicester
  • Book: Wordsworth After War
  • Online publication: 06 July 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009363150.007
Available formats
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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.

  • Wordsworth after Byron
  • Philip Shaw, University of Leicester
  • Book: Wordsworth After War
  • Online publication: 06 July 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009363150.007
Available formats
×