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Title: 'Wordsworth the Friend' in The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth
Authors: James, Felicity R.
First Published: 22-Jan-2015
Number of Pieces: 47
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Citation: James, FR, 'Wordsworth the Friend' in The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth, ed. Gravil, R;Robinson, D, 'The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth', Oxford University Press, USA, 2015, pp. 65-80 (650)
Abstract: Abstract for chapter Far from being a solitary bard, Wordsworth was surrounded by friends: his work is rooted in friendship, collaboration and affection. This essay will explore the importance of his literary friendships, well-known and otherwise. Using letters, biography and close readings of work ranging from Descriptive Sketches and Lyrical Ballads to The Prelude, it analyses the significance of friendship to, and within, his work. The central importance of Coleridge, the guiding spirit of The Prelude – ‘my friend, so prompt / In sympathy’ – cannot be underestimated, and the essay shows the formative importance of his relationship with Wordsworth. It also touches on the close connection between kinship and friendship for Wordsworth: Dorothy, of course, is the ‘dearest friend’ of ‘Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey’. However, both the relationship with Coleridge and his kinship ties should be placed in a larger context. From his Hawkshead schooldays onwards, Wordsworth had a wide-ranging network of friends who helped shape his reading and writing practices. Friendship could take several forms – to De Quincey, Wordsworth was (an often slightly irritated) mentor, whereas his relationship with Walter Scott was one of mutual veneration, despite their literary differences. The friendship with Sir George and Lady Beaumont, which Beaumont himself described as ‘one of the chief blessings of my life’, and which prompted so many poems by Wordsworth, shows how carefully Wordsworth negotiated patronage and affection. The essay investigates these different faces of Wordsworth the friend and demonstrates the significance of friendship, practically and thematically, in his work. Keywords: friendship, relationship, collaboration, network, influence, patronage, affection Abstract for book The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth deploys its forty-eight original essays, by an international team of scholar-critics, to present a stimulating account of Wordsworth's life and achievement and to map new directions in criticism.
DOI Link: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199662128.013.0006
ISBN: 0199662126
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Chapter
Rights: Copyright © Oxford University Press, 2015. This material was originally published in The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth edited by Gravil R; Robinson D, and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press ; For permission to reuse this material, please visit
Description: The file associated with this record is embargoed for 24 months from publication in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy, available at . The full text may be available in the publisher links provided.
Appears in Collections:Books & Book Chapters, Dept. of English

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