The Later Wordsworth

The Later Wordsworth

The Later Wordsworth

The Later Wordsworth

Excerpt

Recent biographies and studies of Wordsworth have dealt in much greater detail and with much greater sympathy with the first half of his life than with the last half, and for reasons not difficult to understand. In the story of a man's development through childhood and youth there is an appeal to more general sympathy than in that of his later years, and the stormy youth of Wordsworth offers at first sight a striking contrast to the apparent tranquillity--stagnation, some have called it--of his maturity and age. It is not unfair to point to Professor Harper's biography as indicating the relative proportions of popular interest: there, in the revised edition of 1929, 529 pages are devoted to the years between 1770 and 1815, and 83 to the years between 1815 and 1850. And a description of those later years which would be given by others besides Professor Harper is that which he chooses as the heading of is twenty-third chapter--Retreat and Surrender. By many 1815 has been taken as an approximate date "after which the decay of Wordsworth's poetic powers became obvious"; as, again, an approximate date for his "apostasy" from his earlier political and philosophical convictions. Professor Harper would himself appear to incline to that opinion, though some of the evidence which he quotes in this all too short section of his biography must by itself compel considerable modifications in it.

This study does not accept that easy and simple division of Wordsworth's life and works. It is, in particular, an attempt . . .

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