If laughable echoes offer Wordsworth a spur to self-exploration and also a means to emblematize his own demands for poetry in relation to those of his audience, then "fits" are the vehicles for a more provocative, more visceral testing of boundaries. This chapter considers Wordsworth's interest in laughing gas, and in debates about physiology and meter, before turning to a sustained reading of "Strange Fits of Passion I have known," a poem, the chapter suggests, is conceived as a serious comedy of desire, a study of the links between the amorous and the absurd, as passion gets played out between mind and body, semantics and sound effects, the fitted and the fitful.
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