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Wordsworth's Fun$
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Matthew Bevis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226652054

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226652221.001.0001

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Echoes

Echoes

Chapter:
(p.25) Echoes
Source:
Wordsworth's Fun
Author(s):

Matthew Bevis

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226652221.003.0002

This chapter begins where the poetry often begins, not with straightforward incitements to laughter but with oddly charged depictions of it. It considers two poems in detail--"I wandered lonely as a cloud" and "To Joanna"--and relates them to contemporary discussions of laughter and to Wordsworth's figurations of laughter across his work. The poet's reworking of the myth of Echo and Narcissus is a recurring theme, and the chapter shows that Wordsworth, in his depictions of laughter, is often thinking about what poetry might be and do. Laughable echoes offer him a spur to self-exploration and a means to emblematize his own demands for poetry in relation to those of his audience.

Keywords:   I wandered lonely as a cloud, To Joanna, Echo, Narcissus, laughter

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