Wordsworth’s Green Letters: From Kendal-to-Windermere

By Dewey W. Hall.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper affirms the significance of the relationship between literary romanticism and ecology regarding the value of Wordsworth’s poetry and prose in establishing an intricate connection. Ecological literary criticism is a viable approach to interpreting romantic texts featuring interdependence between man and the environment. Polemically, this is quite a departure from both poststructuralist (i.e. Hartman and Bloom) and New Historicist (i.e. McGann and Liu) approaches, which have engaged in a discourse about the act of interpretation either by destabilizing the poetic self riddled with anxiety from influence or historicizing the text to disclose ideological underpinnings. Ecological literary criticism interrogates Romantic poetry not so much for questions about the self or ideological implications, but rather this type of criticism presupposes that the intrinsic value of poetry written about nature lies in its unique quality of linking mankind with the environment. In the case of William Wordsworth, as a testimony of his love for the meadows, woods, and mountains in the Lake District, he wrote two letters protesting the Kendal-to-Windermere Railway recorded within the Morning Post, December 1844 (Wordsworth, Guide to the Lakes, xi). This paper will discuss how Wordsworth’s two letters against the Kendal-to-Windermere Railway reflect an ecological consciousness in his attempt to deter the rise of rampant industrialism.

Keywords: Romantic Poetry, Eco-Criticism, Nature, Environmentalism, Lake District

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.413-420. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 611.263KB).

Dr. Dewey W. Hall

Associate Professor of English, Department of English, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Pomona, USA

Dewey W. Hall is an Associate Professor of English in the Department of English and Foreign Languages at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His research interests focus upon the English Enlightenment, English Romanticism, and English Victorianism with papers presented at national and international conferences. He has articles published in Studies in Puritan American Spirituality, English Literary History, The Coleridge Bulletin, RaVon, and the European Romantic Review. His current book project is entitled Eco-Romanticism and the Transatlantic Exchange (Ashgate Press) featuring the work by William Wordsworth, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and John Muir.

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