The Excursion

The Excursion

Edited by Sally Bushell, James A. Butler, Michael C. Jaye, David García
  • Honorable Mention, 2009 MLA Prize for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition (Modern Language Association)
"I am convinced that there are three things to rejoice at in this Age—The Excursion Your Pictures, and Hazlitt's depth of Taste."—John Keats to Benjamin Robert Haydon

"I have been reading Wordsworth's Excursion with many tears and prayers too. To me he is not only poet, but preacher and prophet of God's new and divine philosophy—a man raised up as a light in a dark time."—Charles Kingsley

The Excursion by William Wordsworth is a dramatic poem that advances largely through debate among the four main speakers: the Poet, the Wanderer, the Solitary, and the Pastor; the action of the poem seems to take place over five days. It was Wordsworth's second long poem, his public attempt at a "Great Poem," and his only work of any length to be read by most of his contemporaries. While The Prelude has found more favor with today's readers, The Excursion appealed to the Victorians, who embraced it, considering this influential work a source of spiritual strength in an uncertain world.

This Cornell Wordsworth volume presents the first scholarly edition of The Excursion in half a century—and the first true scholarly edition of the original 1814 text. All manuscripts produced under the author's supervision are separately and completely transcribed in this edition. An introduction, a manuscript history, lists of printed verbal and nonverbal variants, extensive editors' notes, and selected photographs also chronicle the poem's full evolution. In short, this edition makes it possible, for the first time, to follow the complete compositional history of Wordsworth's epic.

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