The Cornell Wordsworth concluded in 2007, having published twenty-one volumes of editions of the poems of William Wordsworth over a span of thirty-two years. The origin of the series can be traced to Stephen Maxfield Parrish's work with the microfilms of the Wordsworth maunscripts from Dove Cottage in the early 1960s. Citing Jonathan Wordsworth's remark that "most great poets are known by the best versions of their works; Wordsworth is almost exclusively known by his worst," Parrish had reached the conclusion that the long tradition in English studies that honored the final lifetime version of literary works and the inevitable omissions and errors of transcription of manuscripts by editors combined to bring about this state in modern editions of Wordsworth's texts. He thus proposed a new edition of Wordsworth's poetry that would feature "some of the early notebooks as notebooks" that included "long early poems that have not anywhere appeared in the first published form." Parrish and John Alban Finch refined the proposal, which featured a clean reading text based on the earliest finished holograph version of each work, transcriptions "unencumbered by a detailed apparatus criticus." Such a presentation, Finch argued, "would mark a new departure in Wordsworthian scholarship and create for the Cornell series an interest and importance beyond that of any earlier edition."
For a complete history of The Cornell Wordsworth History, written by Jared Curtis, click here.