The Grasmere Journals

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Paul Masciocchi
Dr. Dianne Vipond
September 11, 2007

Critical Article Analysis: The Grasmere Journals

There are many reoccurring themes, as well as extensive reasoning, behind much of what Dorothy Wordsworth writes in The Grasmere Journals and evidence of this was discovered after searching the Internet. An article by Jill Angelino, titled “Writing Against, Writing Through: 
Subjectivity, Vocation and Authorship in the Work of Dorothy Wordsworth”, describes many of these in great detail. The theme Angelino discusses in greatest detail however, albeit the main reason for Dorothy keeping the journals in the first place, is Dorothy’s relationship to her brother William and the voice she is given because of it. Upon departure of her brother to Yorkshire for example, she claims “I resolved to write a journal of the time till W & J return… & because I shall give Wm Pleasure by it when he comes home again”. (DW, 392) William relied heavily on his sister's detailed accounts of nature scenes when writing poems and borrowed freely from her journals. Angelino notes, “Through Dorothy, William receives support and achieves subjectivity and authorship”. An example of this can be found in William’s poem “I Wandered As Lonely As A Cloud” (WW, 305) when compared to an entry by Dorothy describing daffodils scattered through the Grasmere countryside. (DW, 396) The two parallel each other almost identically.

Dorothy’s depictions of nature as an attachment to her environment serve not only to aid William in his poetry, but also help in giving Dorothy a voice to express emotion toward William. “Dorothy's journal, critics have noted, presents a ‘seeing eye’--not a ‘subjective I’… instead her emotions are reflected in the details of nature as she catalogues her surroundings”. (Angelino) Examples of this are found when William leaves for Yorkshire and the landscape surrounding Grasmere becomes “dull and melancholy” (DW, 392) or when she is...
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