Wordsworth’s craft

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Composition and craft If you consult 'craft' in a Wordsworth concordance or a database, the report is not often cheering. There is much to do with contrivance, debased art, suspect artfulness: The 'dangerous craft of picking phrases out / From languages that want the living voice / To make of them a nature to the heart' (Prel.1805 vi 130-2), the 'craft' of 'gilded sympathies' in affected 'dreams and fictions' (vi 481-3), 'the marvellous craft /Of modern Merlins' (vii 686-7), 'the Wizard's craft' ('The Egyptian Maid' 44), modern 'Life' decked out by 'the mean handywork of craftsman' ('London 1802' 4), assassins led by those 'whose craft holds no consent /With aught that breathes the ethereal element' (Dion 54-5), the 'craft of age, seducing reason' (Borderers 363) or 'the craft / Of a shrewd Counsellor' ('Wars of York and Lancaster' 1-2). About as good as it gets is a rare reverence for 'the painter's true Promethean craft' ('Lines suggested' 24) or the poet's hope that his own 'Imagination' has 'learn'd to ply her craft / By judgement steadied' (Prel.1805 xiii 290-4). Making rigorous inquisition intoWordsworth and poetic craft might even seem perversity, for he is, legendarily, the antithesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Wordsworth
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780511999154
ISBN (Print)0521641160, 9780521641166
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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