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Vanishings

Peter Swaab, 20 April 1989

The Unremarkable Wordsworth 
by Geoffrey Hartman.
Methuen, 249 pp., £8.95, September 1987, 0 416 05142 1
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Wordsworth’s Historical Imagination: The Poetry of Displacement 
by David Simpson.
Methuen, 239 pp., £25, June 1987, 0 416 03872 7
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Romanticism in National Context 
edited by Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich.
Cambridge, 353 pp., £30, June 1988, 0 521 32605 2
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Romantic Affinities: Portraits from an Age 1780-1830 
by Rupert Christiansen.
Bodley Head, 262 pp., £16, January 1988, 0 370 31117 5
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... Wordsworth’s poetry has been able to animate critical writing, relevantly, from several different points of view. Narratologists have discussed the gaps in his storytelling and the vulnerability of the selves that do the relating; historically-minded criticism has unearthed the contemporary writings with which Wordsworth’s interact, and also shown how far he was involved not only in the politics of poetry but in the politics of public affairs; textual criticism has uncovered an exceptionally rich store of newly published texts and variants, many of them representing his first and arguably best thoughts; deconstructionists have homed in on the paradox of a poetic mission which aims to realise the ‘sad incompetence of human speech’, while both deconstruction and psychoanalysis have been attuned to Wordsworth’s sense that crucial human insights are founded, not on achieved knowledge, but on moments of loss, absence and negation – the ‘Fallings from us, vanishings;/Blank misgivings’ of the ‘Immortality Ode ...

Love in the Ruins

Nicolas Tredell, 8 October 1992

Out of the Rain 
by Glyn Maxwell.
Bloodaxe, 112 pp., £6.95, June 1992, 1 85224 193 4
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Body Politic 
by Tony Flynn.
Bloodaxe, 60 pp., £5.95, June 1992, 1 85224 129 2
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Red 
by Linda France.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £5.95, June 1992, 1 85224 178 0
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Red-Haired Android 
by Jeremy Reed.
Grafton, 280 pp., £7.99, July 1992, 9780586091845
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Leaf-Viewing 
by Peter Robinson, with an essay by Peter Swaab.
Robert Jones, 36 pp., £9.95, July 1992, 0 9514240 2 5
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... is not matched by visual or verbal precision. His palette is vivid, but his facture is slack. Peter Robinson’s Leaf-Viewing is a slender, finely-produced pamphlet which comes complete with a commentary by Peter Swaab. The commentary is helpful and perceptive, but it raises the question of why – other ...

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