Wordsworth 2020

Current research

The project has resulted in the publication of a book-length study of Wordsworth's later poetry, Wordsworth After War: Recovering Peace in the Later Poetry, published by Cambridge University Press (2023) and a special issue of The Wordsworth Circle, 51.1 (Winter 2020): 'Wordsworth and the River Duddon: Bicentennary Readings' 

From the introduction:

Published 200 years ago, William Wordsworth’s The River Duddon, a Series of Sonnets: Vaudracour and Julia: and Other Poems. To Which is Annexed a Topographical Description of the Country of the Lakes, in the North of England is, as its cumbersome title suggests, an eclectic collection, setting new work, the Duddon sonnets, alongside verses written in the years between Waterloo and Peterloo, a tantalizingly suggestive excerpt from the Prelude, and a revised and expanded version of the prose guide to the Lake District. The volume’s mostly positive reception marked a turning point in Wordsworth’s career, paving the way for his establishment as a favored poet for the young Victorians. In recent years, criticism of the volume has focused, understandably, on the Duddon sonnet sequence, at the close of which, in a triumphant “Conclusion” (Sonnet XXXIII), the poet affirms the significance of the river as a figure for the continuity of life after death: “Still glides the Stream, and shall for ever glide” (l. 5). This special issue of bicentenary readings engages closely with the sonnets but offers perspectives too on those other pieces collected in the volume, as well as considering its afterlife as a touchstone for early Lake District tourism and, in our own time, as a stimulus for broader questions about the relations between nature and nationhood, poetry and authority, culture and the environment.

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