Many of Wordsworth's early abusers imagined him as playing a particular role: the Fool. For fun, the OED suggests one possible root in fon, which signifies either “to be foolish; to act the fool; to become foolish,” or “to befool, make a fool of,” and the options provide a suitably equivocal gloss on a recurring aspect of Wordsworth’s reception history. This chapter offers a reading of The Borderers (1796-99). The play's meditations on foolery stage several issues that continue to resonate in the later writing and provide a space in which Wordsworth’s attraction to the Shakespearean Fool is combined with a disturbing analysis of both himself and his imagined audience. The chapter first explores Wordsworth's enduring fascination with the figure of the Fool in contemporary pantomime and in Shakespeare, before showing how this might effect our understanding of the play.
Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.