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date: 31 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

William Wordsworth’s stunningly complex ‘Poem upon the Wye’ or, in its official long form, ‘Lines, written a few miles above Tintern Abbey, On revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798’, is a generic anomaly, evoking ode, blank-verse lyric, autobiography. Fraught with the historical traumas of the 1790s, these lines are not reducible to an art of evasion into the false consciousness of timeless spiritual resolution. In multiple events of poetic form, Wordsworth remains acutely conscious of history and of the precious, fragile interval of this brief and historically marked vacation—a complexity that contemporaneous readers, including his sister, John Keats, and Felicia Hemans, registered as they meditated on its dark passages and momentary lightenings.

Keywords: Wordsworth, Keats, Hemans, Tintern Abbey, the Wye, autobiography, politics, genre, new historicism, poetic form

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