Alan Liu's Wordsworth: The Sense of History is a large book containing a multitude of materials on a wide range of subjects: Napoleon's military tactics, the indebtedness of Lake District weavers, the social history of criminal punishment, the class structure of Lakeland agricultural society, and the floor plans of late eighteenth-century rural cottages (to name only a few). As if all this were not enough, Liu often apologizes for not providing more, as when he admits that "full proof" of one of his hypotheses "opens to view ... a research field not as fully investigated as others and too vast to fit within my present project . . ." (p. 266). He laments what he still does not know—"It would be useful," for example, "if architectural historians of the Lakes could provide guidance on how structures characteristically decay under climate and social forces" (p. 589, n. 33) —and he encourages others to amass the data he reluctantly has had to do without.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Fischer, M. (1991). [Review of the book Wordsworth: The Sense of History, by A. Liu]. Philosophy and Literature, 15, 354-355. doi: 10.1353/phl.1991.0001
Philosophy and Literature