Sonnet Series and Itinerary Poems, 1820–1845
Edited by Geoffrey Jackson
This volume of The Cornell Wordsworth contains eight collections of poems, mostly sonnets, published between 1820 and 1845. The River Duddon is a series of sonnets describing an imagined journey. Ecclesiastical Sketches, by far the largest group in the volume, consists entirely of sonnets and moves through historical time rather than topographical space. Memorials of a Tour on the Continent, 1820 is a record of an actual tour, containing when first published 23 sonnets and 15 other poems. In Yarrow Revisited, and Other Poems, celebrating another tour, all but three of the 26 poems are sonnets. Memorials of a Tour in Scotland, 1833 originally consisted entirely of sonnets. Memorials of a Tour in Italy includes five poems that are not sonnets. The remaining two groups, Sonnets upon the Punishment of Death and Sonnets Dedicated to Liberty and Order, which are both quite short, move through neither space nor time, but are thematically linked.
An account of the genesis, dates of composition, and publication of each series is followed by reading texts, including all available variants. The poems are followed by Wordsworth's own notes and by the editor's notes. Photographic reproductions of manuscript pages of special interest, with transcriptions, are included for all the collections except Sonnets Dedicated to Liberty and Order.