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ABOUT THIS BOOK
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.
Peter Dale lives in Essex. His previous books include The Irish Garden: A Cultural History. Brandon C. Yen divides his time between the United Kingdom and Taiwan. He is the author of “The Excursion” and Wordsworth’s Iconography.
“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
"Extremely wide-ranging, the book describes not only the trees that Wordsworth planted, wrote poems about, or fought to save, but also those he observed on his travels . . . This is a very stimulating book, at once scholarly and very readable, full of fascinating information and insights."
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Between the Royal Oak and the Liberty Tree
2. An Ash Tree in Cambridge
3. Yews and the Earth
4. Ways of Seeing
5. Gardens and Parklands
7. Scotland, 1803
8. Burns Taking Root in Cumbria
9. A Voyage to Ireland
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