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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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(p.25) Echoes
Wordsworth's Fun

Matthew Bevis

University of Chicago Press

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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