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Susan Stewart: "Wordsworth and the Representation of Ruin"



Susan Stewart


Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm


Stanford Humanities Center Board Room



Susan Stewart: "Wordsworth and the Representation of Ruin"

A poet, critic, and translator, Susan Stewart is the Avalon Foundation University Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University, where she also directs the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. Her books of poems include most recently Red Rover, and Columbarium, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry in 2003. Her most recent books of prose are The Poet's Freedom: A Notebook on Making, and The Open Studio: Essays in Art and Aesthetics. She is a former MacArthur Fellow, a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009 she received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 2014 she will be a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

"Only within the ruin I beheld/ At a small distance, on the dusky ground/ A broken pane which glittered in the moon/ And seemed akin to life..."

Wordsworth continually returned to the theme of ruins and ruination in his work. In this workshop, we will read together some of his best-known poems on the subject, "Michael," "The Ruined Cottage," and "Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey on revisiting the banks of the Wye during a tour, 13 July 1798," as we explore the poet's place in the history of ruins representations. William Gilpin's "On Picturesque Beauty" and "On Picturesque Travel" are also recommended.