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British State RomanticismAuthorship, Agency, and Bureaucratic Nationalism$
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Anne Frey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804762281

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804762281.001.0001

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Wordsworth's Establishment Poetics

Wordsworth's Establishment Poetics

Chapter:
(p.54) Two Wordsworth's Establishment Poetics
Source:
British State Romanticism
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804762281.003.0003

This chapter argues that the late Wordsworth does not lose his youthful poetic genius but adjusts his high Romantic aesthetic to integrate poetry as part of the state. In his early Preface to Lyrical Ballads, he hopes to convert readers to a new form of poetic taste that would restore the moral ties between individuals. In the Ecclesiastical Sonnets, in contrast, Wordsworth suggests that only the state Church has the institutional structures to convert readers and place them in a national ethical community. In an interesting permutation on Foucault's concept of pastoral state power, he uses the Anglican pastor to model how the state works: the pastor takes his authority from the state Church, and by coming to know each parishioner interpellates them into the state. Wordsworth, who rethinks the role of the poet to assist in this task, is in fact so committed to state religious administration that he fears that excessive or imaginative language will emphasize the poet's vision at the expense of the Church's institutional functioning.

Keywords:   poetry, state, Ecclesiastical Sonnets, pastoral state power, Anglican pastor, religious administration

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