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  • Cited by 3
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2021
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Book description

William Wordsworth, Second-Generation Romantic provides a truly comprehensive reading of 'late' Wordsworth and the full arc of his career from (1814–1840) revealing that his major poems after Waterloo contest poetic and political issues with his younger contemporaries: Keats, Shelley and Byron. Refuting conventional models of influence, where Wordsworth 'fathers' the younger poets, Cox demonstrates how Wordsworth's later writing evolved in response to 'second generation' romanticism. After exploring the ways in which his younger contemporaries rewrote his 'Excursion', this volume examines how Wordsworth's 'Thanksgiving Ode' enters into a complex conversation with Leigh Hunt and Byron; how the delayed publication of 'Peter Bell' could be read as a reaction to the Byronic hero; how the older poet's River Duddon sonnets respond to Shelley's 'Mont Blanc'; and how his later volumes, particularly 'Memorials of a Tour in Italy, 1837', engage in a complicated erasure of poets who both followed and predeceased him.


Winner, 2022 Marilyn Gaull Award, Wordsworth-Coleridge Association

Winner, 2023 The Carolyn Woodward Pope Book Award


‘one of the most important scholars of so-called second-generation Romanticism … Highly recommended. ’

J. Risinger Source: Choice Connect

‘a convincing reconfiguration of the ‘late’ Wordsworth - one that reconnects him to the second-generation Romantics.’

Jayne Thomas Source: Times Literary Supplement

‘… a brave, insightful, formidably well-researched study.’

Robin Jarvis Source: Review 19 (

‘… offers a necessary and long-overdue corrective to the received version of Wordsworth’s body of work, an implicit remise of which has often been that little of the original poetry written and published by him after 1808 deserves critical attention.’

Michael J. Neth Source: The European Legacy

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