Editorial Excursion

  • J. C. C. Mays
Part of the Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters book series (19CMLL)


This chapter separates Dejection Ode from the Letter to Sara and shows that, while the relationship of the two poems is biographically and otherwise revealing, they should be understood as separate: both editorially and in terms of literary ambition. The Ode began as an oral composition of highly wrought stanzas and groups of stanzas that stalled: viz. failed to come together as a whole. The Letter incorporated them into a reckless, muddled confession in an unfinished style, and the published Ode was constructed in reaction against the Letter: compelled by regret that the Letter had ever been sent. There are historical explanations of how two separate textual histories became entangled, and overwhelming other reasons why the original project should be recovered.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. C. C. Mays
    • 1
  1. 1.University College DublinDublinIreland

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