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P cliv; Joseph Cottle, according to DNB, died in 1853, not in 1865 (when he would have been 95) (p c!xi). Such a wealth of new material as Whalley offers in this volume seems to demand an index; regrettably, but obviously rightly, there is none. It is to be hoped that we shall not wait too long for it and for the rest of the matter which it will analyse. (W./.B. OWEN) Jeffrey Baker. Time and Mind in Wordsworth's Poetry Wayne State University Press. 212. $16.95 When one considers the brevity of his book and the complexity of his subject, Jeffrey Baker'saccount of time and mind in some ofWordsworth's major poetry seems very ambitious. Baker begins by identifying a qualitative order of time in Wordsworth, from the rigidity of clock time, to nature's time, to inner time, which sometimes obliterates even itself in a vision of an eternal present. This is well illustrated by his later analysis in chapter 5 of the skating episode in The Prelude, 1.425-63, where he is particularly concerned to show the importance for Wordsworth of the 'holiday' from an ordinary experience of time. But the emphasis throughout the book is on the relationships among different ways of experiencing time, and finally on the vantage-point of an eternal present from which at particular moments the poet is able to see time from the perspective of eternity. Dealingin his first chapter with other critics who have written on related subjects, especially Lindenberger (On Wordsworth's 'Prelude'), Baker admits his indebtedness butemphasizes that his own interestis less in Wordsworth's beliefs or ideas than in their poetic effect and value: his book is concerned with time and mind primarily as images rather than as ideas, and on the basis of this literary emphasis Baker justifies his choice of texts (1850 Prelude, Excursion I rather than 'The Ruined Cottage') and his preference for close reading over specific discussion of sources and ideas behind Wordsworth's treatment of time. His close readings of poems and of passages from poems seem to me to be more interesting and convincing than the larger points they are meant to illustrate. Baker's usual technique in each chapter is to connect a number of these readings in order to illustrate a particular theme or subject. Sometimes the choiceofexamplesseems arbitraryand the splicing of paragraphs becomes obvious: especially in later chapters Baker stops too often to offer explanations of what he is doing or to justify a change of direction. At its best, however, his writing is lucid, unpretentious, and persona!, with a pleasant witty allusiveness, qualities which make the reader expect and welcome associations that might otherwise appear arbitrary, like the quotations from WilliamJames in chapter6, where Baker is concerned to distinguish religious experience from particular doctrine. HUMANITIES 12) Baker returns to james in his final chapter, to compare the mystical experience of one of james's contributors with Wordsworth's account of the ascent of Snowdon. The comparison is interesting but excessively long, and the emphasis on james makes one suspect that Baker is more concerned with what Wordsworth believed thart his literary approach readily admits. Similarly the appendix, 'The Ruined Shrines,' which Baker includes to emphasize the resonance of certain settings in The Prelude and to reveal Wordsworth's historical sense as 'a sense of tradition: takes on a disproportionate importance by being the single appendix to such a short book and - though interesting in itself - does not illuminate the text sufficiently to be helpful to the reader. Any necessary information about these shrines might have been incorporated in the text or the notes. Individual readings are always perceptive and often superb: here Baker seems most confident and authoritative. The treatment of Wordsworth's syntactical ambiguities, particularly in the discussion of Prelude, Ii.54-65, in chapter 6, is especially interesting, and the treatment of the 'spots of time' is illuminating in its emphasis not on the static quality of such moments but on the energy within them and its effect on the imagination of the reader. Chapter 4, 'Margaret and Michael,' is my favourite: Baker reads the fate of each character in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 122-123
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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