Wordsworth and the Critics

December 2000
186 pages
9x6 in
Studies in English and American Literature and Culture
ISBN: 9781571130907
Format: Hardback
Camden House
BISAC LIT004120, LIT014000, BIO007000

Wordsworth and the Critics

The Development of a Critical Reputation

John L. Mahoney

The first full-length study of the reception of Wordsworth's poetry and theory.
William Wordsworth, often regarded as the High Priest of British Romantic Poetry, certainly had the longest career of the Romantics, one extending from his days as a schoolboy almost to the end of his life in 1850, from the Lyrical Ballads and descriptive poetry of 1790s to the late poetry of the 1840s. With this long career came a remarkable history of critical reception: from the reviews of his contemporaries in journals and magazines; to the major statements of Matthew Arnold, John Stuart Mill, and others; to the amazing variety of books, essays, and theoretical approaches of the twentieth century. Although there have been a number of studies about the critical reception of Wordsworth's poetry and critical theory, Professor Mahoney's book is the first full-length study of how critics -- from the earliest reviewers to the major Victorian voices, to the enormous 20th-century response -- have approached the many facets of the great English Romantic's work. Mahoney does not aim primarily at following the course of Wordsworth's life and career, as many admirable and recent biographies have done, but rather follows the course of a critical reputation as it has evolved from the poet's earliest probes to the present day. Thus Wordsworth and the Critics offers an engaging narrative of the reputation of this most prominent of Romantic poets.
Professor Mahoney's book offers an engaging narrative of the reputation of a poet.

John L. Mahoney is Thomas F. Rattigan Professor of English at Boston College and has written extensively on Wordsworth and English Romanticism.

Table of Contents

Early Responses
Eminent Victorians and Others
Wordsworth and the Twentieth-Century
Wordsworth and the New Theory
An Abundance of Riches:Varieties of Later Twentieth-Century Criticism


An invaluable history and analysis of the poet's critical reception... --Frederick Burwick, UCLA

[This] book provides a historical baseline for both mature scholars and beginning researchers in the field... It is a historical portrait of the artist in the full-length mirror of that criticism. STUDIES IN ROMANTICISM

Also in Series