This original book examines the way in which the Romantic period inaugurates a tradition of writing that demands that the poet should write for an audience of the future: the true poet, a figure of neglected genius, can only be properly appreciated after death. Andrew Bennett argues that this involves a radical shift in the conceptualization of the poet and poetic reception, with wide-ranging implications for the gendering of the poetic canon, and for understanding the work of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley and Byron, paradigmatic figures of the Romantic poet.
Introduction; 1. Wordsworth writing; 2. 'Tintern Abbey' and the nature of writing; 3. Writing theory; 4. Inscription poems: impossible writing; 5. Wordsworth's passion; 6. Wordsworth unhinged; 7. The writing cure; 8. The history of William Wordsworth; Appendix on poetic dictation; Bibliography; Index.
"Wordsworth Writing signals a new and invigorating direction for Wordsworth studies and studies in Romanticism...Wordsworth Writing should be considered a touchstone for Wordsworth studies in the twenty-first century."
-Brian Bates, Romantic Circles
"Intriguing, specific criticism that takes its time with the readings, and opens out new critical possibilities....this is a provocative work that makes us think again about familiar material, and which thereby opens up the possibilities of new grounds for critical debate."
-Jonathan Roberts, The Review of English Studies
"Andrew Bennett’s book, with its intelligent interweaving of French deconstructive theory and thoroughly British empirical scholarship potentially offers a new way forward, not only for Wordsworth, but for Romanticism... It is to be hoped that his book marks a turn in Wordsworth studies and that, in the same year as the first long phase of major editorial effort finally came to an end (with the completion of the Cornell series), a second phase of full critical and theoretical analysis of those materials has begun."
-Sally Bushell, Romanticism
"Bennett implicitly raises significant questions about the poet’s psyche...we glimpse new understandings of the possible workings of Wordsworth’s brave but brooding soul."
-Beth Darlington, Journal of British Studies
"The whole book is carried off with the dark charisma that distinguishes the best examples of the deconstructive method; and its appearance in the Cambridge series feels quietly momentous... it is good to read something that goes about things differently – and which grows, too, from so shrewd and keen an attention to the perplexed vitality of Wordsworth’s language"
-Seamus Perry, The Wordsworth Circle