Wordsworth: Centenary Studies Presented at Cornell and Princeton Universities

Wordsworth: Centenary Studies Presented at Cornell and Princeton Universities

Wordsworth: Centenary Studies Presented at Cornell and Princeton Universities

Wordsworth: Centenary Studies Presented at Cornell and Princeton Universities

Excerpt

This volume consists of the six lectures on Wordsworth which were delivered at the Wordsworth Centenary Celebrations hold at Cornell and Princeton Universities on April 21 and 22, 1950, and Dean Sperry's sermon on Wordsworth's religion which was preached at the Princeton University Chapel on Sunday, April 23, 1950, the one hundredth anniversary of the poets' death. The lectures by Professors Ransom and Trilling were published in the 1950 summer issue of the Kenyon Review, and Professor Pottle's lecture appeared in the autumn issue of the Yale Review. It is only by coincidence that the essays number seven.

Like other literary anniversaries, the centenary of Words. worth's death called for recollection, appraisal and revaluation--a critical act performed with distinction by the lectures in this book and by informal exchanges of opinion among the scholars and critics who were invited to attend the Cornell and Princeton meetings. As could be expected, these estimates of Wordsworth's achievement represented different points of view. Sharp disagreements were freely expressed. What readers of Wordsworth have known before--the regrets, vexations, and lassitudes interfused among the finer moments in his poetry--were discussed with a frankness which may have troubled some of the more reverent Wordsworthians. Certainly the occasion honored Wordsworth, and recalled the distinguished studies of his life and works by scholars like Professor Harper and Lane Cooper. But it was not a time of peace, perfect peace. Although the discordant elements may not have been finally reconciled into a calm assurance of Wordsworth's lasting power (which would hardly benefit Wordsworth criticism anyway), the lectures furnished helpful means to the audience--and now to others--for several revaluations of his . . .

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