ISBN : 9780198818113
This volume offers a reappraisal of Wordsworth's and Coleridge's radical careers before their emergence as major poets. Updated, revised, and with new manuscript material, this expanded new edition responds to the most significant critical work on Wordsworth's and Coleridge's radical careers in the three decades since the book first appeared. Fresh material is drawn from newspapers and printed sources; the poetry of 1798 is given more detailed attention, and the critical debate surrounding new historicism is freshly appraised. A new introduction reflects on how the book was originally researched, offers new insights into the notorious Léonard Bourdon killings of 1793, and revisits John Thelwall's predicament in 1798.
University politics, radical dissent, and first-hand experiences of Revolutionary France form the substance of the opening chapters. Wordsworth's and Coleridge's relations with William Godwin and John Thelwall are tracked in detail, and both poets are shown to have been closely connected with the London Corresponding Society. Godwin's diaries, now accessible in electronic form, have been drawn upon extensively to supplement the narrative of his intellectual influence.
Offering a comparative perspective on the poets and their contemporaries, the book investigates the ways in which 1790s radicals coped with personal crisis, arrests, trumped-up charges, and prosecutions. Some fled the country, becoming refugees; others went underground, hiding away as inner émigrés. Against that backdrop, Wordsworth and Coleridge opted for a different revolution: they wrote poems that would change the way people thought.
A note on texts
1 Voices from the Common Grave of Liberty
2 'Europe was Rejoiced': Responses to Revolution, 1789-1791
3 Pretty Hot in It': Wordsworth and France, 1791-1792
4 'Mr. Frend's Company': Cambridge, Dissent, and Coleridge
5 'War is Again Broken Out': Protest and Poetry, 1793-1798
6 'A Light Bequeathed': Coleridge, Thelwall, Wordsworth, Godwin
7 'A Sympathy with Power': Imagining Robespierre
8 Inner Emigrants: Kindly Interchange, Rash Disdain
Epilogue: Daring to Hope
Appendix 1: Wordsworth and Daniel Isaac Eaton's Philanthropist
Appendix 2: Wordsworth's Lost Satire