A Rereading of Wordsworth’s Presence in Shelley’s Alastor

Enlarging upon the critical claim that William Wordsworth is the prototype of the protagonist in Shelley’s Alastor, this essay examines the specific nature of Wordsworth’s poetic decline and its dramatization in Alastor. It is argued that Wordsworth’s loss of poetic vision is caused by an encroaching idealism, evident in “Tintern Abbey”; that this loss of vision is felt by Wordsworth to be intrinsically linked to a loss of “natural piety,” as lamented in his “Intimations Ode”; and that a necessary connection between idealism and the death of a true poetic sensibility is central to an understanding of Alastor.