The Long Perspectives

  • John Beer


Wordsworth’s devotion to landscape improvement was undertaken then not, like that of many of his contemporaries, as assistance to human complacency and self-assertion, but rather as a work of rescue and consolation. Against the doctrine that life in the midst of nature must be pleasant (a doctrine of the sentimentalists which would later thrive on a misreading of his own work) he, like Shakespeare, knew that such a life in its purest form must be that of ‘unaccommodated man’, exposed to the alien and uncaring processes of the universe at large; no response to the landscape which failed to acknowledge the fact could be adequate.


Human Heart Animal Spirit Literal Content Poetic Epic Landscape Improvement 
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  1. 1.
    ‘Salisbury Plain’, st. 44 (Cf Salisbury Plain Poems 34). See also Enid Welsford, Salisbury Plain, a Study in the Development of Wordsworths Mind and Art (Oxford, 1966), pp. 14–15.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid., st. 47.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    C. Salveson, The Landscape of Memory (1965).Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    W. Bartram, Travels through North and South Carolina (1792), p. 155.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    J. L. Lowes, The Road to Xanadu (1927), pp. 364–5, quoting Gutch Notebook (=CN I 220).Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    D. Ferry, The Limits of Mortality (Middletown, Conn., 1959), pp. 12–15.Google Scholar
  7. 23.
    B. R. Haydon, Diary, ed. W. B. Pope (1960), II p. 470.Google Scholar
  8. 26.
    David Ferry, op. cit., pp. 23–4.Google Scholar
  9. 32.
    Samuel Daniel, Preface to ‘Musophilus’, ll.1–6. (Complete Works, ed. A. B. Grosart (1885), I 223).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Beer 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Beer
    • 1
  1. 1.CambridgeUK

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