Though Wordsworth's 'Lucy Poems' are among the best-known lyric sequences in English, they did not exist as such in his day. 'Strange fits of passion have I known'; 'She dwelt among the untrodden ways'; 'I travelled among unknown men'; 'Three years she grew in sun and shower'; and 'A slumber did my spirit seal' were first gathered as 'Lucy Poems' by Victorian critics and editors shortly after Wordsworth's death. Mark Jones argues that the 'Lucy' grouping first took form as a simplification of Wordsworth's text, and that its persistence in modern criticism reflects primarily the literature institution's will to knowledge. Problematic in themselves and in their editorial history, the 'Lucy Poems' provide an excellent focus for a case-history in the modes of 'practical' criticism since 1800.
|Published - 2000