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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.231) Selves
Wordsworth's Fun

Matthew Bevis

University of Chicago Press

This final chapter ranges more widely across The Prelude in order to consider how forms of selving and humoring speak to one another, and how they speak to the vision (or version) of Wordsworth presented by this book. When he was looking around for epic-mock-epic models for the romancing of the self, certain writings, cherished from his childhood, would have come readily to mind, ones that should be kept in mind when reading him: eighteenth-century novels (particularly those of Sterne, Fielding, and Smollett); behind them, Cervantes; and behind him, Ariosto. The chapter closes with a sustained consideration of Wordsworth's debt to Don Quixote in The Prelude, arguing that this quixotic sense is a vital part of his ambitions for both himself and his poetry.

Keywords:   Ariosto, Cervantes, identity, romance, humoring, mock-epic, Don Quixote, Fielding, Smollett

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