Wordsworth's Radical Politics, A Reconsideration

This paper is an attempt to reconstruct Wordsworth's radical politics of his early years with reference to his idea of violence, equality, and republicanism. The result is that his radicalism turned out to be more radical than most of the contemporary societies of the reformers, much closer to, sometimes even exceeding Thomas Paine's radical politics, which however was the very index of Wordsworth's political naivete. Wordsworth of 1793 was too naive, too radical, and to idealistic to be an active reformer in the arena of contemporary reform movement. Even a prominent reformer like John Thelwall  was due to review his reformist idea after Napoleon's invasion of Switzerland in 1798 and Wordsworth's political frustration at the political reality of the 1790s's Britain was pretty predicable from the very nature of his radicalism. Wordsworth the radical did certainly exist, but was quickly incapacitated at the very moment of his first contact with the political reality of the 1790s, which suggests also that Wordsworth's actual participation with the reformist activities could be more the scholars's wishful thinking than a verifiable historical fact. 


In/Out 1(1996): 214-240


The Full Text in Korean