William Wordsworth: The Idiot Boy

(5388 words)

Wordsworth’s ballad “The Idiot Boy” (1798) and the other poems that he and Samuel Taylor Coleridge included in Lyrical Ballads (1798) have probably suffered from conventional tributes to their revolutionary quality. Such praise encourages us to disregard their genuine strangeness as the product of eccentricity or inexplicable inspiration. Yet scholars such as Mary Jacobus and Stephen Parrish demonstrated long ago that Wordsworth and Coleridge were heavily indebted to their surrounding literary culture. “The Idiot Boy”, then, needs to be studied through its intersection with literature and attitudes of Wordsworth’s time before judging whether it really was unusual—whether he was justified in predicting in his 1798 “…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

King, Joshua. "The Idiot Boy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 March 2012
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=33517, accessed 28 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. English Romanticism