Wordsworth and Word-Preserving Arts
Typographic Inscription, Ekphrasis and Posterity in the Later Work
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Did Wordsworth really become a poorer poet after 1807, as most readers since the Victorians have maintained? Wordsworth and Word-Preserving Arts reopens this central question, and is the first critical study to give serious and sustained attention to two central aspects of the poet's later work: his ekphrastic writings about visual art, and his increased awareness of the printed dimension of his work. Using insights from the developing fields of interart studies in ekphrasis and textual criticism, Peter Simonsen argues that these aspects reveal Wordsworth as a much more interesting - because much more enduringly active - artist than is commonly thought. By calling attention to what is uniquely exciting about the later Wordsworth, and by arguing that this complicates traditional understandings of the poet based on his so-called Great Decade, Wordsworth and Word-Preserving Arts proposes a fundamental revaluation not only of the central poet of British Romanticism, but of the entire literary movement.