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 Some poems, such as the ‘Salisbury Plain’ narratives, remained unpublished, only to be revised on a large scale many years later.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.
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