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The Poetics of Orphanhood: Wordsworth's ‘Salisbury Plain’, ‘The Vale of Esthwaite’, and ‘Tintern Abbey’

John Hughes E. P. Thompson’s suspicion, in a 1988 review that ‘there was something secretive about Wordsworth in the 1790s’, can seem to have become a guiding thread for many of Wordsworth’s most influential critics in the twenty years or so since. A broader sense of the ‘difficulties of establishing and reading “absent” contexts for Romantic poems’ has coincided with a commonly felt need to read Wordsworth’s work according to operative ratios between suppression and disclosure.1 To take possibly the most celebrated example, Marjorie Levinson’s 1986 account of the air-brushing out of local poverty and industry in ‘Lines Written Above Tintern Abbey’ may have been decisively countered,2 but her mode of reading still broadly provides a kind of paradigm for influential readings of the poem that fasten on to what are seen as its internal, generative, acts of self-censorship, or evasion.3 David Bromwich and Kenneth R. Johnston, like Nicholas Roe, have speculatively charted the most mysterious undercurrents and courses of Wordsworth’s life and work during the period narrated in ‘Tintern Abbey’. The probings of all three converge on the idea that the poet might have been directly embroiled in revolutionary violence or betrayal during what Mary Moorman called http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Romanticism Edinburgh University Press

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