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Creative engagement with the natural world - William Wordsworth, walking and writing

Strachan, J (2017) 'Creative engagement with the natural world - William Wordsworth, walking and writing.' Essays in English Romanticism, 41. pp. 75-79. ISSN 1341-9676

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Abstract

Wordsworthian poetry is a poetry of movement, and William Wordsworth, who begins his most well-known poem ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’, is a poet much preoccupied with wandering, especially on foot. This paper addresses the significance of walking in Wordsworth’s life and work. Wordsworth walked as he composed, composed as he walked. The poet’s sister Dorothy, for instance, writes to Mrs Clarkson in February 1804 thus: ‘My dear friend, William has been walking and is now writing down the verses he composed in his walk…’. I’m not sure which particular verses Wordsworth wrote on this walk, but the fact of their al fresco composition is by no means unusual. Composing verse and walking went together for Wordsworth. The mere circumstances of poems’ composition, however, do not make them important and I want to argue here that walking was of great thematological significance in the poet’s work. This talk examines some of the key issues raised by walking in Wordsworth’s work, issues to do with creativity and composition, solitude and sociability, politics and philosophy.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 26 May 2017 10:30
Last Modified: 26 May 2017 16:05
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/9576
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