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Selected Poetry of William Wordsworth (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – February 12, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The poetical performance of Wordsworth is, after that of Shakespeare and Milton . . . undoubtedly the most
considerable in our language from the Elizabethan age to the present time.”—Matthew Arnold

From the Inside Flap

Selected Poetry of William Wordsworth represents Wordsworth?s prolific output, from the poems first published in Lyrical Ballads in 1798 that changed the face of English poetry to the late ?Yarrow Revisited.? Wordsworth?s poetry is celebrated for its deep feeling, its use of ordinary speech, the love of nature it expresses, and its representation of commonplace things and events. As Matthew Arnold notes, ?[Wordsworth?s poetry] is great because of the extraordinary power with which [he] feels the joy offered to us in nature, the joy offered to us in the simple elementary affections and duties.?
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (February 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375759417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375759413
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A.J. on April 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
To me, poetry is like a swimming pool into which I have to dip my toe to test the temperature of the water before I jump in. I have to take it just a little bit at a time and allow myself to absorb it as well as enjoy it, and this volume of Wordsworth is something I find accessible and welcoming but challenging enough to engage my interest. Unlike his contemporaries of the Romantic movement like Blake and Byron who immersed themselves in wild fantasy and dark mythology, Wordsworth writes about things just about everybody can relate to -- nature, neighbors, family, nation, self-realization, glow-worms -- using direct language that avoids obscure metaphors. Granted, not many of us these days find the opportunity to observe a shepherd at work or hike over the Alps, but Wordsworth did, and tells us about it with imagination and exuberance.
The characters in Wordsworth's poems are vagrants, wanderers, beggars, figures from local legends, generally people who live outside of the mainstream or are forgotten by society, the humblest of the humble. There is Johnny the errant Idiot Boy, who is sent off on a horse to fetch a doctor for his mother's ailing friend but instead takes a personal journey governed by his limited imagination. There is the isolated Lucy, "a violet by a mossy stone" who "dwelt among the untrodden ways." There is old Timothy the Childless Father, who tries sorrowfully to maintain his spirits by continuing his hunting excursions after a period of mourning for the death of his last daughter.
The central piece in this collection is "The Prelude," Wordsworth's autobiographical poem.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
From time to time I return to reread Wordsworth. There is a spirit of calm and consolation, which combines with the sublime that makes his poetry especially soothing and uplifting. His poetry is sympathetic and understandable but also deeply reflective. The great odes 'Tintern Abbey' and 'Intimations of Immortality' seem truly to provide a sense of something 'more deeply interfused, a power whose dwelling is the light of the sun and the living air'

Wordsworth is not doctrinal but he is a profoundly religious poet. And he gives a sense of the natural world as awe - inspiring in itself and suggestive of something greater and more meaningful.

I love many of his shorter poems, some of the sonnets especially. The lines, the great great lines stay in the mind and are a help and a hope.

No wonder so many people have found in reading him as John Stuart Mill reports in his 'Autobiography' a way out of despair.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mona on March 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
Wordsworth's descriptions and comparisons are so vivid that you feel like you're in the setting to poem is striving to create. This is a truly remarkable example of fine poetry. Wordsworth commonly uses the rhyme scheme ABAB in his quatrains and AABCCB for his sestets. He writes quite a few of his poems in pastoral form, which a focus on nature, but not devoid of a rhyme scheme. The length of his poems vary greatly, ranging from 2-214 pages long! His one 214 page long poem is obviously the highlight of the book: "The Prelude, or Growth, of a Poet's Mind". It's an autobiographical poem divided into sections due to it's longevity. A few of his poems are controversial ("The Idiot Boy"?!), the vast majority are fantastic. The mere fact that he was able to write a 214 page autobiographical poem shows what a great poet he was. It's great to read such a fine example of poetry. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Stephen Saley on February 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this because wanted a sturdier, fuller edition of Wordsworth to replace the thin-ish yellowing paperback selection of his verse that I already had.

Overall I'm content with the Modern Library selection, binding and typesetting--- very readable, the cloth cover feels comfortable in the hand, and the volume, while large, is not too heavy.

The poems are arranged chronologically by date of first composition (n.b., not revision: We get the 1850 version of the Prelude, but it appears alongside the verse of 1805, when he first completed it). There are no notes at all. Some would have been useful--- e.g., to inform us where poems first appeared (the Lyrical Ballads just appear alongside everything else), or which version of a poem we were reading. The general editorial strategy seems to have been always to include the latest version of the poem: As mentioned, we get the 1850 Prelude (would have been nice if the edition had made this clear), and we also get the revised version of "The Thorn" (W, unfortunately, was shamed into revising the widely mocked lines, "I've measured it from side to side: / 'Tis three feet long, and two feet wide.")

Wordsworth's famous poems all seem to be here. I would have liked to see some of the "Poems on the Naming of Places" included, but you do have to have to leave something out.

There's a typo in book 4 of the Prelude, line 24: Instead of "Yon azure smoke betrays the lurking town," it reads "You azure smoke ..." I also noted a missing quote mark in, I think, one of the Matthew poems, but I can't find it now.

Overall, this is a solid edition of Wordsworth's verse which I expect will hold up well over the years.
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