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26 April 2023 - 26 April 2023

5:30PM - 6:30PM

Online (Zoom)

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All welcome to our next Inventions of the Text seminar, available online.

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An Inventions of the Text seminar

While we have, with good reason, been interested in The Borderers for what it tells us about Wordsworth’s intellectual and aesthetic development as a poet at its point of composition, I will be interested in thinking about it, first, in relation to the drama and theater of the 1790s and second, as a cultural act in 1842, as Wordsworth seeks to define his place one more time on the literary scene. Wordsworth’s sole tragedy, while written in the late 1790s, did not appear until 1842, in his last volume of new poetry, Poems, Chiefly of Early and Late Years; including the Borderers, A Tragedy. Supporting my view is the back matter of the collection. There are two series of advertisements: one for the other six volumes in the newest edition of Wordsworth’s poetry and the other for his publisher’s Edward Moxon’s “Dramatic Library” which includes plays by key playwrights from Shakespeare to Congreve, with the editors spanning the romantic movement from Thomas Campbell to Leigh Hunt to Hartley Coleridge. One set of these print paratexts places Wordsworth’s play within his life’s work, but another group relates the play to the dramatic tradition from Early Modern to the romantic periods.