Early Reviews of The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth

A couple of lovely reviews of the Handbook have been published. Richard and I are grateful for such positive notices!

From nbol19.org a deeply appreciative review written by the distinguished scholar Leslie Brisman, Karl Young Professor of English at Yale:

. . . like Coleridge, I was aware of having sat through a long and overwhelmingly wondrous experience that touched me as very few works of secondary literature ever have.

For essay after essay shows how the best of Wordsworth criticism seems to lose its secondariness and become part of the adventure in the growth of the poet’s mind–an adventure that was Wordsworth’s own preoccupation and achievement.

Read the entire review here.

From the Review of English Studies an exceptionally eloquent, thorough, and incisive description of the book by Jessica Fay, University of Bristol—a review so substantial in its grasp of such a massive volume that it resists blurbing—so here is an excerpt:

While some individual chapters would be perfect for undergraduate reading lists (Nicholas Roe’s biographical summary for Wordsworth’s early life is the foremost example), this volume is primarily aimed at scholars and postgraduate students. As such, several essays reflect deepening critical interest in the poet’s later work; for example Daniel Robinson’s focus on The River Duddon, Peter J. Manning’s discussion of later narrative poems including ‘The Russian Fugitive’, and Pamela Woof’s reading of a selection of Ecclesiastical Sketches and Italian Memorials. This book differs then from the pair of student-focused introductory studies that were published in 2010 by Emma Mason and Daniel Robinson respectively. And yet, for all of its chronological and thematic breadth, the Oxford Handbook demonstrates that the ‘Poem upon the Wye’ and ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood’, which have been the crux of criticism for over 30 years, maintain principal position. Not only do these poems each have their own dedicated chapter (see the sections by Susan J. Wolfson and Michael O’Neil), but they are points of reference for almost every contributor. This shows that whilst Wordsworth scholarship has ventured beyond traditionally canonical texts, the governing questions are still those focused on memory, imagination, place, the mind, and nature. The prevalence of these key poems and themes also secures the utility of this Handbook for non-Wordsworthian Romanticists.

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