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Versed in Living Nature

Wordsworth’s Trees

Verdant with illustrations, a meditation upon the rootedness of trees in Wordsworth’s writing and beyond.
This is the first book to address William Wordsworth’s profound identification of the spirit of nature in trees. It looks at what trees meant to him, and how he represented them in his poetry and prose: the symbolic charm of blasted trees, a hawthorn at the heart of Irish folk belief, great oaks that embodied naval strength, yews that tell us about both longevity and the brevity of human life. Linking poetry and literary history with ecology, Versed in Living Nature explores intricate patterns of personal and local connections that enabled trees—as living things, cultural topics, horticultural objects, and even commodities—to be imagined, theorized, discussed, and exchanged. In this book, the literary past becomes the urgent present.

256 pages | 19 color plates, 56 halftones | 6 1/2 x 9 1/4

Art: Art Criticism, British Art

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature

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“This book makes a major contribution to our understandings of the social and cultural history of trees and their deep importance for Wordsworth.”

Charles Watkins, professor of rural geography, University of Nottingham

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