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A provocative account of Wordsworth's representation of walking as the exercise of imagination, Romantic Vagrancy traces a recurrent analogy between the poet in search of material and the literally dispossessed vagrants and beggars he encounters. Reading Wordsworth - and Rousseau before him - from the perspective of recent debates about the political and social rights of the homeless, Celeste Langan argues that both literature and vagrancy are surprisingly rich and disturbing images of the 'negative freedom' at the heart of liberalism. Langan shows how the formal structure of the Romantic poem - the improvisational excursion - mirrors its apparent themes, often narratives of impoverishment or abandonment. According to Langan, the encounter between the beggar and the passer-by in Wordsworth's poetry does not simply reveal a social conscience or its lack; it represents the advent of the liberal subject, whose identity is stretched out between origin and destination, caught between economic and political forces and the workings of desire.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521475075
ISBN-10: 0521475074
Format: Hardback
(228mm x 152mm x 22mm)
Pages: 316
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 24-Nov-1995
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Books By Author Celeste Langan

Romantic Vagrancy by Celeste Langan

Romantic Vagrancy

Paperback, December 2006