Wordsworth and the Victorians tells the story of the flowering of Wordsworth's reputation and influence. As well as showing how poets and novelists such as Matthew Arnold and George Eliot transmitted the Wordsworthian spirit, Stephen Gill uses a mass of anecdotal and biographical material - the personal testimony of critics, scholars, publishers, and ordinary readers - to illustrate just what Wordsworth's poetry meant to his Victorian readers.
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(215mm x 138mm x 22mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
In his Introduction, Professor Gill tells us this book originated in his previous work, an acclaimed biography Wordsworth: A Life (1989) so we are warned not to expect this to be another study of either the poetry or the well chronicled 'life'. Instead, in a fascinating departure, Professor Gill examines the emergence of Wordsworth as an icon, a movement which gained momentum during the last 25 years of his life when his creative powers were indisputably waning and has never looked set to unravel. Avoiding the pitfall of being overly anecdotal, the book nevertheless draws on a great deal of individual testimony. Wordsworth's reputation was constructed and transmitted not only by 'literary giants' but also by armies of critics, scholars, publishers and lay readers who invoked both the life and the poetry for myriad causes: the preacher who invokes 'Tintern Abbey' from the pulpit, the publisher who spots a niche in the gift book market. An invaluable contribution to literary history. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Stephen Gill
Stephen Gill is Professor of English Literature and Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford. He is the author of William Wordsworth: A Life (OUP, 1989), and editor of William Wordsworth in the Oxford Authors series (OUP, 1984).