Wordsworth and Coleridge: The Radical Years

Drawing on numerous previously unpublished manuscript sources, this study reappraises Wordsworth's and Coleridge's radical careers in the years before their emergence as major poets. By tracing parallel experiences of political defeat in the lives of their contemporaries, Nicholas Roe argues against any generalized pattern of withdrawal from politics. Instead, Roe offers a reading of Lyrical Ballads, The Prelude, and The Recluse emphasizing the integration of the imaginative life and radical experience. As he demonstrates, the loss of revolutionary idealism prefigured the collapse of Coleridge's creative and personal life after 1798, while for Wordsworth revolutionary failure was the key to his emergence as a poet.

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Responses to Revolution
Wordsworth and France 17911792
Cambridge Dissent
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