Simon Jarvis argues that Wordsworth's aspiration to 'philosophic song' is central to his greatness, and changed the way English poetry was written. Jarvis reads Wordsworth's writing both critically and philosophically, to show how Wordsworth thinks through and in verse.
Introduction: Poetic thinking: the speculative element of Wordsworth's verse; Part I. Counter-spirits: 1. Old idolatry; 2. From idolatry to ideology; 3. Materialism of the beautiful; Part II. Common Day: 4. Happiness; 5. Infinity; 6. Life; 7. Light; Conclusion: Imagination.
"Simon Jarvis's dazzling book...[is] innovative, electric, and pugnacious...I read this book in a state of high excitement, even joy. In a strong field, it gets my vote for book of the year."
-Margaret Russett, University of Southern California, Studies in English Literature