This reading of Wordworth's poetry by leading critic David Simpson centres on its almost obsessive representation of spectral forms and images of death in life. Wordsworth is reacting, Simpson argues, to the massive changes in the condition of England and the modern world at the turn of the century: mass warfare; the increased scope of machine-driven labour and urbanisation; and the expanding power of commodity form in rendering economic and social exchange more and more abstract, more and more distant from human agency and control. Reading Wordsworth alongside Marx and Derrida, Simpson examines the genesis of an attitude of concern which exemplifies the predicament of modern subjectivity as it faces suffering and distress.
About the Author
David Simpson is G. B. Needham Distinguished Professor of English, University of California-Davis.
Table of ContentsIntroduction; 1. At the limits of sympathy; 2. At home with homelessness; 3. Figures in the mist; 4. Timing modernity: around 1800; 5. The ghostliness of things; 6. Living images, still lives; 7. The scene of reading.