Dorothy Wordsworth and Hartley Coleridge: The Poetics of Relationship
Nicola Healey, MA 2005; PhD 2009
This book provides a complete reassessment of the writings of Hartley Coleridge and Dorothy Wordsworth presenting them in a new poetics of relationship. Healey investigates how their relationships with William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge affected their lives, literary self-constructions and reception in order to restore a more accurate understanding of their independent lives and original texts.
Arguing that the familial writing context of both Hartley and Dorothy imbued their poetic selfhoods with a strong and pervasive sense of relationship, community, democracy and sociability, which they exploit in order to establish authorial autonomy in the shadow of their more famous relatives, this comparative study suggests that gender is not the only factor which conditions the writing of relationship, and that identity is more significantly governed by the complex pressures of domestic environment and immediate kinship.
This study of the familial self thus significantly supplements feminist work on the self-in-community. The most comprehensive study of Hartley Coleridge's work and writing context to date, this book restores Hartley's forgotten achievement and establishes his correct literary standing as a major poet who bridged Romanticism and Victorian literature.