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Wordsworth's Revisitings$
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Stephen Gill

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199268771

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199268771.001.0001

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Second Thoughts

Second Thoughts

(p.13) 1 Second Thoughts
Wordsworth's Revisitings

Stephen Gill

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines in various ways Wordsworth’s habits of composition and revision. Some poems, such as the ‘Salisbury Plain’ narratives, remained unpublished, only to be revised on a large scale many years later. Much of Wordsworth’s revision, on the other hand, was concerned with minute textual changes, which he continued to insist on over his working lifetime. How the poet tried to control the developing shape of his oeuvre is also discussed—his system of classification, control of the canon and of his readers’ response through signposting and notes. It is suggested that sequel poems were a vital element in Wordsworth’s creative response to experience, in that they allowed his to develop ‘second thoughts’ without effacing earlier work.

Keywords:   revision, 1827, 1832, composition, memory, prelude, publishing, canon, classification, sequels

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