The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth - Vol. 1

The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth - Vol. 1

The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth - Vol. 1

The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth - Vol. 1


Oxford Scholarly Classics is a new series that makes available again great academic works from the archives of Oxford University Press. Reissued in uniform series design, the reissues will enable libraries, scholars, and students to gain fresh access to some of the finest scholarship of the last century.


The first edition of this book (1935) was entitled The Early Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth. For the sake of uniformity with its continuations, The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth: The Middle Years (1937) and The Later Years (1939), a new title has been adopted.

In the first edition there were 241 letters. A supplement to The Later Years contained seventeen written in the period 1794-1805, two of which are full texts of shorter versions in Early Letters. I have combined these 256 items, eliminating one letter found to belong to 1806, dividing one into two, and subordinating in a footnote one written by the poet's brother John. I have also included fourteen not hitherto published (Nos. 98, 109, 112, 115, 130, 132, 173, 174, 175, 200A, 220, 226, 230, and 264) and twenty-six already published, but not collected previously (Nos. 53, 66, 61, 62, 78, 86, 92, 103, 104, 127, 133, 134, 136, 137, 138, 139, 142, 143, 145, 148, 149, 150, 153, 158, 234, and 248).

In preparing the text I have consulted either the manuscript or a photocopy of every letter except when the original could not be traced. Re-examination of the manuscripts has brought to light certain omissions (such as the final sentence of Letter 60), misreadings (like 'Mittenrachs' for 'Kittenracts' in Letter 110), or mistaken sequences of thought (Letter 63). To clarify the sense of the originals, I have made some sentences begin with capital letters and end with full stops which did not do so; in the interest of typographical grace, superior letters have been lowered and some abbreviations (including ampersands, but not &c) have been expanded; misspellings, however, have been retained. Any editorial insertions, including evidence of illegible words, are shown in square brackets, a question mark being used when I have been in doubt. The order in which some letters stood in the first edition has been altered where, in my judgement, it was wrong.

The text of the present edition has been provided with headnotes. In these I have indicated, wherever possible, the address, the postmark, the location of the manuscript, and the books or articles in which the text has already appeared. Following de Selincourt's . . .

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