Wordsworth and the Formation of English Studies

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Wordsworth and the formation of English Studies, London, Ashgate, 2004

“It is Reid’s major contribution to go beyond the generalisations that see the origins of aspects of modern English in Romanticism and to locate them quite specifically in the thought and work of Wordsworth…. This is a timely addition to the historical literature on English curriculum, setting its argument in the context of detailed and closely argued case studies and taking us beyond too-easy and too-quick assertions about growth, ‘new English’ and Romanticism. A highly readable work, I thoroughly recommend it.” – Wayne Sawyer in English in Australia.

“It is the only study of the evolution of English as an institutional discipline that understands that such a study can only be undertaken by a scholar attentive to the institutions within which the discipline evolved.  That is enough in itself to make this an important book.” – Richard Cronin in Anglia.

“The evidence is skilfully deployed… The case is strengthened by the use of unpublished material… This book should leave even the most sceptical reader with the impression that, as the syllabuses evolve, and the pedagogy is hammered out, Wordsworth is indeed everywhere. This is reinforced by an impressive piece of intertextual detective work…undoubtedly an important book, which confronts the interface between the scholar’s sense of the subject and the part played in forming that subject by the combined activities of educationalists, critics, theoreticians, politicians and ‘history’.” – John Williams in the BARS [British Association for Romantic Studies] Bulletin & Review.

“Ian Reid’s recent book on the Wordsworthian legacy in English studies is an important, quite fascinating account of the field….  It is salutary to be reminded of this history, and of its crucial agenda-setting role in English teaching….  Reid concludes his study with reference to the notion of ‘alternative Englishes’ – roads not taken in the history of English, and yet presumably available now as resources for the re-thinking of the subject….  There is much here to ponder, in thinking about new projects for English teaching.” – Bill Green in English in Education.

“The strength of this study lies in its detailed exploration of the origins of certain institutions in relation to Romantic ideals and the pervasive power of those underlying principles…. As a historical account of the comparative origins of the discipline of English Literature the book is illuminating and carefully researched….  It presents interesting facts, a sense of context and an accumulative portrait of many individuals, clearly influenced by Wordsworth and working to establish the frameworks of institutions which we now inhabit.” – Sally Bushell in The Byron Journal.

“An unusual project this, and a consistently interesting one – a valuable and meticulous piece of scholarship that addresses, in an unusually detailed way, one of the central New Historicist areas of debate about Romanticism and the academy…. It’s an enjoyable read – this due in no small measure to the well-crafted prose.  The tone is of a civilised and sensible person arguing a case without pedantry but with zeal.” – Anonymous publisher’s reader


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