Re-reading The Excursion: Narrative, Response, and the Wordsworthian Dramatic Voice
Re-Reading The Excursion: Narrative, Response and the Wordsworthian Dramatic Voice transforms contemporary critical understanding of The Excursion and of the place of this long poem in the Wordsworthian canon. Sally Bushell argues that the poem, which has suffered at the hands of critics for most of the twentieth century, has been unfairly judged according to a Coleridgean rather than a Wordsworthian definition of philosophy-that it has been read as a didactic work, rather than one which uses its dramatic form to teach its readers to think for themselves. She offers a new reading, based on her view that The Excursion is about providing the readers with moral habits and mental constructs by which to learn, not simply telling them what to think.
The conclusion reached is that Wordsworth is not just the egotistical poet of The Prelude, interested largely in the development of his own imaginative powers, but one who goes on to explore the limits of subjectivity and the importance of different kinds of imaginative links between individuals.
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The Poets Voice
Dramatic Composition Dramatic Definition
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Alan Richardson argument attempt audience Biographia Literaria Book chapter character churchyard clearly Coleridge Coleridge's communication comparison composition concerned conclusion context conversation create critical debate defined describes dialogue discussion dramatic level dramatic poem earlier emotional Ernest de Selincourt Essay Excursion exemplum exploration feeling final text Grasmere Hazlitt human illustrate imagination importance individual intentions internalised John Hamilton Reynolds Jonathan Bate kind landscape listeners lives look Lyrical Ballads Margaret mind moral narrative memory narrator nature offers particular passage Pastor person perspective Peter Bell philosophical play poem's poet poet's poetic text position Prelude present Prose question reader reading Recluse relation representation represented response retelling role Romantic Romanticism scene seems sense Solitary Solitary's speaker speaking speech stage story structure suggests tale telling theodicy third person narrative translation University Press utterance ventriloquism voice Wanderer Wanderer's whilst William Wordsworth Wordsworth's poetry Wordsworthian writing written