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Romantic Vagrancy : Wordsworth and the Simulation of Freedom - Celeste Langan

Romantic Vagrancy

Wordsworth and the Simulation of Freedom

Hardcover Published: 24th November 1995
ISBN: 9780521475075
Number Of Pages: 316

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Romantic Vagrancy offers a provocative account of Wordsworth's representation of walking as the exercise of imagination, by tracing a recurrent analogy between the poet in search of materials and the literally dispossessed beggars and vagrants he encounters. Reading Wordsworth--and Rousseau before him--from the perspective of current debates about the political and social rights of the homeless, Celeste Langan argues that both literature and vagrancy are surprisingly rich and disturbing images of the 'negative freedom' at the heart of liberalism. Langan shows how the formal structure of the Romantic poem--the improvisational excursion--mirrors its apparent themes, often narratives of impoverishment or abandonment. According to Langan, the encounter between the beggar and the passerby in Wordsworth's poetry does not simply reveal a social conscience or its lack; it represents the advent of the liberal subject, whose identity is stretched out between origin and destination, caught between economic and political forces, and the workings of desire. Langan's powerful and innovative argument revises current views both of Wordsworth's poetry and of the relation of literature to its social and political context.

Industry Reviews

'This is an extraordinarily important, exhilarating and brilliant piece of work on Wordsworth, and one of the most interesting pieces of critical inquiry on any subject I have read in some time.' Alan Liu 'This volume is so rich in its range of reference, so varied in the modes of analysis it offers, and so thickly punctuated by the analogies it uses as its method, that it is certain to offer much to any reader interested in the philosophical and historical origins of liberalism, and their place within the formation of poetic subject in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.' British Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies

List of abbreviations
A methodological preamble
Rousseau plays the beggar: the last words of citizen subject
Money walks: Wordsworth and the right to wander
Walking and talking at the same time: the 'two histories' of The Prelude (1805)
The walking cure
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521475075
ISBN-10: 0521475074
Series: Cambridge Studies in Romanticism
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 316
Published: 24th November 1995
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.64