Most people agree, perhaps without enthusiasm, that Wordsworth is 'great'; it is not easy to say why. Professor Durrant sets out to show this clearly, freshly and forcibly, with detailed reference to particular poems. He accepts that the great creative period of Wordsworth's life was from 1798 to 1805; that in those few years he produced the poems in which his genius was realised; that these poems express a particular vision, which later faded. The vision was of the life of man in the universe of Newtonian science, subject to its universal laws, finding poignancy, even tragedy, in this acquiescence, but winning strength from the acceptance. After a general introduction, individual chapters examine representative poems in close detail: particularly such lyrics as 'I wandered lonely as a cloud', 'Tintern Abbey' the 'Immortality' ode, 'The Prelude' and the sonnets. Professor Durrant builds up from the details of these poems a cumulative sense of Wordsworth's preoccupations, how his mind worked, his characteristic imagery, how original and successful he was and how relevant his poetry still is.
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achieved appearance April morning beauty beneath breeze child childhood cloud consciousness cottage daffodils dance death deep delight described Don Quixote Dorothy Wordsworth dream earth echo Ernest de Selincourt experience expresses fear feeling flowers gives grief grove harmony heart heaven hill human mind human weight imagination intellectual lake laws leech-gatherer lines lives loneliness looked lover Lucy Lucy's Lyrical Ballads man's Matthew memory merely Michael mighty heart Milton moon mountains myth natural piety pain paradise passage pattern Peter Bell philosophical pleasure poet poet's task poetry Prelude quiet reader reminds River Duddon River Wye rock says scene seems sense sestet silence simple sing song sonnet soul stanza stars stone story stream suggests thee theme things thou thought Tintern Abbey transformation trees truth universe valley vision visionary vital voice wandered lonely whole WILLIAM WORDSWORTH words Wordsworth Wye valley young