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'The Excursion' and Wordsworth's Iconography$
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Brandon C. Yen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941336

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941336.001.0001

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Themes and Iconography

Themes and Iconography

(p.39) Chapter One Themes and Iconography
'The Excursion' and Wordsworth's Iconography

Brandon C. Yen

Liverpool University Press

The first section of Chapter 1 details the ways in which Wordsworth endows the ‘passing events’ in The Excursion with a grandeur analogous to the Fall of Man. It demonstrates how the post-lapsarian and the post-revolutionary are conflated in the attempts of the Wanderer, the Pastor, and the Poet to reintegrate the Solitary into ‘the very world’. Illuminating the motif of ‘Change’, it shows that, far from conjuring up escapist visions, The Excursion re-channels the energy of the revolutionary years into the more pressing socio-economic reality in the post-revolutionary world. The second section demonstrates that Wordsworth’s poetry draws upon various iconographical traditions to open up the visionary dimensions of ‘transitory’ events and people. Focus is given to The Excursion’s opening passage to show that Wordsworth’s iconographical method occupies an indeterminate region between the purely allegorical and the realistic. This passage offers a prime example of how Wordsworth uses iconography to address the themes of paradise lost and paradise regained and of how iconography can shed light on the post-lapsarian/post-revolutionary quest for belonging as a journey of perspectives.

Keywords:   allegory, change, French Revolution, iconography, paradise, perspectives, realism

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