Offers an explanation for the poet's mysterious and longstanding preoccupation with death and grief.
Kurt Fosso's Buried Communities analyzes the social relationship between mourning and community in William Wordsworth's writings from 1785 to 1814. In close readings of such major works as The Ruined Cottage, Lyrical Ballads, The Prelude, and The Excursion, Fosso uncovers the idea of mournful community, or what Wordsworth cryptically proclaimed to be a "spiritual community binding together the living and the dead. " In addition to offering an explanation for the poet's mysterious, longstanding preoccupation with death and grief, Fosso discovers a poetry insistently social in orientation—and consistently social in character—and uncovers significant coherence between the poet's early and later works. Buried Communities situates Wordsworth as a reformist during a time of social and political crisis, for whom mourning promised to bind together his disaffected countrymen and disjointed world. With its sociological vantage and strong commitment to historical explanation, the book illuminates an important, previously unseen vista for understanding this Romantic poet's representations of death and grief and significantly reframes the cultural dynamics of the Romantic period in Britain.
Kurt Fosso is Associate Professor of English at Lewis & Clark College.