Pewterbreath's Reviews > Selected Poetry of William Wordsworth

Selected Poetry of William Wordsworth by William Wordsworth
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Jan 17, 08

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Read in June, 2007

Wordsworth is a guilty dislike for me. So many poets don't only like him but credit him with their very inspiration as to what poetry is and should be. Last summer I endeavored to make peace with Wordsworth once and for all. I skipped the juvenelia, and went straight for the "young" Wordsworth. My complaints I can find very quickly--many many poems about A man wandering unhappy, ill at ease, or at least lonely--he encounters daffodils/a leech gatherer/nature's primal majesty and whatever was bothering him (it's never mentioned, P thinks he was probably irritated that his sister didn't press his shirts right) evaporates away. I find Wordsworth extraordinarily earnest--and if you take any Romanticism class they will go on and on about how "going back to nature" is supposed to be the cure towards the "evils of society."
The trouble is, I don't know if Wordsworth believed it. How many times did he see nature in his mind and not in reality? Also, the very fact that he wrote these poems, aren't they now mere memories and not the reality anymore? And also, if nature is the perfect balm why is he always wandering (I mean it doesn't sound as if the man is on his afternoon constitutional--he is endlessly wandering and searching.) Curiously, this take on him made him much more stomachable for me---I'm much more interested in people saying "What is this?" than "This is it!" Old Wordsworth is much less interesting--he gets preachy, moralistic, and becomes a voice for the old guard. But who can blame him--he long outlived his peers, and was finding himself struggling to be relevant in a new (extremely prosaic) age. I can say I can put my Wordsworth ambivalence to rest, and though I will never entirely like him, I can tip my hat in respect.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Matthew (new) - added it

Matthew Dalzell But if one is simply set against someone, is there really any hope? 'Twould seem folly to pretend to overcome some dislike when I think we both knew that would never happen!

In defense of Wordsworth's subjects, I would remind you that most modern poetry is far, far more depressing than "a man wondering unhappily."

Robert I have to admire him for his dedication to his chosen avocation. Nothing is perfect the first time out if the gate; poetry takes the better part of a lifetime to perfect your "voice." Robgmcewen

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