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.
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