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Centring on a reading of ‘The Recluse’, this chapter opens with a consideration of the representation of peace in ‘Home at Grasmere’ (1800–1806), a poem later known as ‘Part First, Book First’ of ‘The Recluse’. Through close readings of the 1808 ‘Recluse’ fragments that Wordsworth went on to adapt for The Excursion, the chapter investigates how remnants of the poet’s early interest in radical, pacificist thought speak against the poem’s declared allegiance with the values of Britain’s political and religious establishment. Noting how the poem’s composition is bisected by the composition of the pamphlet on the Convention of Cintra (1810) and the letter to the military theorist Sir Charles Pasley (1811), writings that explore the links between armed struggle, national independence, and the primacy of the Imagination, the chapter goes on to consider how The Excursion, through the character of the Solitary, grants expression to the revolutionary hope for perpetual peace, world citizenship, and delight in Fancy’s ‘mutable array’.
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