Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth's Poetry of the 1790s

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University of Chicago Press, Apr 15, 2000 - Literary Criticism - 186 pages
Although we know him as one of the greatest English poets, William Wordsworth might not have become a poet at all without the experience of personal and historical catastrophe in his youth. In Disowned by Memory, David Bromwich connects the accidents of Wordsworth's life with the originality of his writing, showing how the poet's strong sympathy with the political idealism of the age and with the lives of the outcast and the dispossessed formed the deepest motive of his writings of the 1790s.

"This very Wordsworthian combination of apparently low subjects with extraordinary 'high argument' makes for very rewarding, though often challenging reading."—Kenneth R. Johnston, Washington Times

"Wordsworth emerges from this short and finely written book as even stranger than we had thought, and even more urgently our contemporary."—Grevel Lindop, Times Literary Supplement

"[Bromwich's] critical interpretations of the poetry itself offer readers unusual insights into Wordworth's life and work."—Library Journal

"An added benefit of this book is that it restores our faith that criticism can actually speak to our needs. Bromwich is a rigorous critic, but he is a general one whose insights are broadly applicable. It's an intellectual pleasure to rise to his complexities."—Vijay Seshadri, New York Times Book Review
 

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Disowned by memory: Wordsworth's poetry of the 1790s

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The poetry of the first decade of Wordsworth's career is some of his most memorable. According to Bromwich (English, Yale), Wordsworth turned to poetry after the French Revolution to articulate the ... Read full review

Contents

Alienation and Belonging to Humanity
23
Political Justice in The Borderers
44
The French Revolution and Tintern Abbey
69
Moral Relations in the Preface and Two Ballads
92
The Trial of Individuality
110
Historical Catastrophe and Personal Memory
139
Conclusion
175
Index
181
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About the author (2000)

David Bromwich is the Housum Professor of English at Yale University. He is the author of Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth's Poetry of the 1790s, published by the University of Chicago Press, and A Choice of Inheritance: Self and Community from Edmund Burke to Robert Frost.

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