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564 BOOK REVIEWS moment of strange pause before Coleridge falls into sentimentality, before he places the infant in the ideological structure of the mother/child dyad, is, for Ruderman, what the poem of infancy holds within its form and what it offers as its experience. Ruderman’s interest in the relationship be­ tween infancy and poetic form thus drives this study. His ambitious argu­ ment that “attention to infancy catalyzed a revolution in literary form and genre” in nineteenth-century Britain is never fully realized, but if there are no tectonic shifts in the generic landscape of nineteenth-century poetry, there are deep, local insights into both familiar and less familiar poems, as well as a profound, ethical engagement with what the state of infancy makes possible (3). Ann Wierda Rowland University of Kansas Benjamin Kim. Wordsworth, Hemans, and Politics, 1800-1830: Romantic Crises. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2013. pp. vii+196. In Wordsworth, Hemans, and Politics, 1800-1830: Romantic Crises, Benjamin Kim addresses questions that have engaged Romanticists for some time: how might we account for the shifting political positions of William Wordsworth and Felicia Hemans? And, to a lesser extent, what connec­ tions might we find between them? Wordsworth and Hemans met at Rydal Mount in 1830—a meeting with which Kim begins and ends his book—and each referenced the other in poetry. While it is not uncommon to see Wordsworth and Hemans addressed together in chapters and articles, Kim’s may be the first book-length treatment of the two. In his introduc­ tion, Kim presents a promising argument about a shared temporal struc­ ture, a “revisionary mode of writing” he identifies in Wordsworth’s and Hemans’s work, which relies on the creation of crises and historical mo­ ments of uncertainty to allow for visions of a future society (2). Yet ulti­ mately one might be left with more questions than answers, not only about how, exactly, this “politics of crisis” works, but more broadly concerning why he focuses specifically and exclusively on Wordsworth and Hemans, as well as whether or not this paradigm is unique to them among Romanticera poets (3). In contrast to work since the late 1980s that has explored Wordsworth’s radical politics and added nuance to the traditional narrative of his later conservatism and work that has highlighted Hemans’s subversive proto­ feminism, Kim ultimately returns Wordsworth and Hemans to their laterSiR ., 56 (Winter 2017) BOOK REVIEWS 565 in-life conservative positions, but he attempts to complicate the narrative. Drawing in the Introduction on Louis Althusser’s and Hannah Arendt’s theories ofrevolution and on emerging eighteenth-century notions of “cri­ sis” as both a specific moment of transformation and ongoing “business as usual” (5), Kim suggests that the crises dramatized in Wordsworth’s and Hemans’s writing were not simply outgrowths of their personal crises but were crafted to mobilize a “revolutionary paradigm that relies on ambigu­ ity” yet clearly reveals their political commitments (6). Wordsworth, Hemans, and Politics, 1800—1830 contains three chapters devoted to Wordsworth and three to Hemans. In each, Kim’s intent is to reinterpret “discrete moments” in the poet’s career within the context of social and political concerns. In Chapter 1, “‘Michael’: Late EighteenthCentury Republican Millenarianism,” Kim reads “Michael” through a millenarian lens to account for the “strange temporality” of the poem whereby Wordsworth offers a “portrait of a present crisis [the Foxite Whigs’ “secession” from Parliament in 1794] through the images ofa time­ less past” to argue that “Michael” represents Wordsworth’s political align­ ment in 1800 with “bourgeois radicalism” and the liberal “politics of the dissenting community” (20, 21, 46). Kim identifies Wordsworth’s exploita­ tion of a paradox of millenarian thought: the co-existence of blessed and cursed time periods (22-23). “Michael” employs these millenarian associa­ tions between barrenness, revolution, and redemption because Michael figures both loss in his abandonment by Luke and future blessing ifLuke is a Christ-type (22). To explore Wordsworth’s Hartleyan-influenced idea of “gaps” between local and universal, individual and communal, and to ex­ plain Wordsworth’s “interpretive drive” to include local objects, Kim has recourse to fragments of the “Michael” manuscripts...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2330-118X
Print ISSN
0039-3762
Pages
pp. 564-567
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-06
Open Access
No
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