Wordsworth Circle

International quarterly journal focusing on contemporary studies of literature, culture, and society primarily in England during Romantic period.

Articles from Vol. 42, No. 2, Spring

Cockney Excursions
Wordsworth would appear to have been fortunate that the Excursion, a work treating the struggle to come to grips with the revolutionary era, was being made ready for print when Napoleon abdicated on April 11, 1814. (1) As Kenneth Johnston (1984) pointed...
Coleridge's "The Improvisatore": Poetry, Performance, and Remediation
The oral improvisation of poetry, a long-standing tradition in Italy and other Mediterranean cultures, became widely known across Europe during the early 19th century. In Italy, the male improvvisatore had a history going back at least to the Renaissance,...
Della Crusca, Anna Matilda, and Ludic Sensibility
The amorous poetic exchange between Della Crusca and Anna Matilda, the pseudonymous identities of Robert Merry and Hannah Cowley, began in the columns of John Bell's newspaper, The World. The sensational literary love affair between Della Crusca and...
Is the Excursion a "Metrical Novel"?
In the final paragraph of his bewildering preface to The Excursion, Wordsworth famously denies having any intention of "formally announcing a system," even in The Recluse itself, let alone in "this intermediate poem." He hints that the reader may be...
Lady Caroline Lamb's Glenarvon on Stage
In 1805, Lady Caroline Ponsonby, daughter of the 3rd earl of Bessborough, became the wife of William Lamb, future Viscount Melbourne and Prime Minister under Queen Victoria. In the seventh year of her marriage, Lady Caroline Lamb, now twenty-seven...
Mapping and Romanticism
"Literary cartography," as one might designate the relationship between literary texts and maps, has generated a number of modes of criticism within the last three decades. Most cartographic historians and "map-minded" literary critics are comfortable...
On Literary Fractures
Each spake words of high disdain And insult to his heart's best brother: They parted--ne'er to meet again! ... A dreary sea now flows between, But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder, Shall wholly do away, I ween, The marks of that which once hath been. --S....
Reconstructing the Poor
The Barrow Record Office catalog to non-conformist activity in the Hawkshead area during William Wordsworth's lifetime offers a list of denominations--Inghamite, Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Quaker or the Religious Society of Friends, to name...
William Westall and the Lake Country
In 1820, a volume of beautiful aquatint Views of the Lake and of the Vale, of Keswick wan published, with an introduction by Southey. The artist, William Westall, had been Southey's friend for several years; he was also a favourite of the Wordsworth...
Wordsworth at Forty: Memoirs of a Lost Generation
On the occasion of the fortieth Wordsworth Summer Conference, I wondered what Wordsworth might have been doing at age forty, in 1810. Not a banner year, particularly, I supposed. Looking it up, I found that he was just getting into serious composition...
Wordsworth, Mill, and the Force of Habit
When the spirit of the young John Stuart Mill finally broke, it was reading Wordsworth that helped mend it; and the new thing that Wordsworth brought to Mill's life was chiefly the realisation that things could feel new. Mill's upbringing, as designed...
Wordsworth, William Rowan Hamilton and Science in the Prelude
Writing to his sister Eliza from Keswick on September 16, 1827, William Rowan Hamilton recalled his first meeting with Wordsworth at Mr. and Mrs. Harrison's in Ambleside the previous evening. Following tea, Hamilton asked to walk with Wordsworth back...
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