(St Catherine's College, University of Oxford)
William Wordsworth's House, Rydal Mount, c. 1897
For our final seminar of the term - and of this academic year - we're delighted to be welcoming back former Romantic Realignments convenor, Judyta Frodyma, who's going to be speaking to us about the reception of Wordsworth's works and ideas in America. As ever, all are welcome at both the seminar and the wine reception afterwards - held from 5:15pm, St Cross (English Faculty) Building, Seminar Room A - so please join us for what promises to be a fantastic talk to wrap up the 2013-2014 programme.
I examine Wordsworth’s reach as a ‘prophet of the nation’ by exploring the reception of his poetry on the other side of the Atlantic. I take my lead from Elizabeth Peabody’s letters and manuscripts and other Transcendentalist writers. Peabody says of Wordsworth that he was ‘the Messiah of the reign of the saints,' and 'a true Christian prophet.’ Wordsworth’s initial impact on America was one that strongly resonated with Unitarian readings of Scripture. I will compare the American approach to landscape in the late nineteenth century with Wordsworth’s own, and address the widely-used rhetoric of Wordsworth’s ‘ministry’ and ‘followers’, including American ‘worshippers’ who made ‘pilgrimages’ to Rydal Mount. Wordsworth’s ‘real language of men’, as well as his prophetic calling, was thus carried beyond the British landscape into a landscape of English language in America.