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REVIEWS 233 point. The Book oj Miracles oj Henry VI is a bulky volume. Yet one of the main reasons for the delay of four centuries in canonizing St Thomas More and St John -Fisher was the lack of authenticated miracles. Ordinarily, two such are a sine qua,non; but here the whole English-speaking world was combed without result. That popular silence gives the lie to Farmer Cobbett's theory that Henry VIII, by some mysterious agency, succeeded in robbing a nation of its moral outlook and living religious faith. However we may magnify the irresistible force of Crown and Parliament in moulding the English Reformation, yet the stuff from which it came was suppl1ed by the English people. THE MIND. OF WORDSWORTH'" J. R. MAcGILLIVRAY Even the best books on Wordswor'th published during, this century have tended to be partial and peripheral. There has been a fine study of the poet's yov.th and another of his later years. One scholar has examined thoroughly the- influence of Hartley's laws of association in forming Wordsworth's theory of poetry, and others, since the discovery of Annette, have speculated darkly about -her effect on the author of Vaudracour and 'Julia and the Ecclesiastical Sonnets. These ~pecial studies have been illuminating in their manner and degree, but they have been concerned with only part of the story. There has been no book on Wordsworth as central in its emphasis or as satisfying in its range of understanding as" , let us say, ,Colvin's Life oj Keats (1917). Probably the most enduring work in the field has been done, not by the biographers and literary critics, but by the editors, notably by Professor de Selincourt, whose exhaustive critical labours on The Prelude and the Wordsworth letters have provided the foundation for a worthy, biography, and have at last "frighted the -reign of Chaos and old Knight." Professor Havens has not attempted ,to write the great biography , but he has given llS something eise which has been badly needed and is of central importance, a thorough, systematic, and well-documented account of Wordsworth's dominant ideas and *The Mind oj a Poet: A Study oj Wordsworth'.s Thougllf with Particular Rejn-cnce 10 The Prclude, by RAYMOND DEXTER HAVENS. Baltimore, the Johns Hopkins Press, 1941~ $5.00. 234 THE, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY beliefs as they appear in his -poetry. Yet at first sight his book is curious and perplexing in its form, consisting of ten chapters on persistent ideas in the poetry, followed by about 375 pages of commentary and line-by-line annotation _for The Prelude. However, the connection between the two parts of the book is made clear by the n-ature of the notes. They are-rarely of the merely factual type, but are intended-to provide copious illustration and cross-reference from the most trustworthy source to substantiate what was said in the chapters of the first part about "The Matter-of-factness of Wordsworth," "Passion," "The Ministry of Fear," "Solitude, Silence, Loneliness'-' "Animism," liNature," "Anti-Rationalism;' "The Mystic Experience/' "Religion," and "Imagination." The notes, in other words, are on Wordsworth's thought as emphatically as are the more orderly chapters in the first half of the book. I would mention two great merits of The Mind of aPoet: and first, the author's constant attention to the text of the poems, his consistent effort to understand what \Vordsworth means not only when he uses a phrase in one famous context, but when it reappears at a dozen other points. The method requires much cross-reference and much concentration on Wordsworth alone; the disadvantage of the method is a lack of variety and a certain flatness which more friendly critics than Byron .have found on occasion in the writings of the bard of Grasmere. Of course' a more brilliant appearing book on Wordsworth's ideas could have been written in another way. The real subject would have been the romantic movement with culminating illustrations from our poet. The chapter on "The Ministry of Fear," for example, would have traced the emergence of the idea of pleasing fear in the eighteenth century, with the usual illustrations...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 233-235
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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