Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

The contexts of the poem and of the reader

The contexts of the poem and of the reader.
Students talking
Wordsworth’s Sonnets Dedicated to Liberty (1807) was, in fact, republished at later dates and under new titles.

In 1838 another edition was published and entitled Political Sonnets and another in 1845, this time with the title, Poems Dedicated to National Independence and Liberty.

In 1838 and 1845 different political circumstances would inevitably have been available to the poems’ readers and the 1845 title could be said to gesture towards its new contexts. In the 20th century, during the Second World War, the Sonnets Dedicated to Liberty were reprinted with an understanding that their messages were, again, timely. In what ways, do you think? All of these instances suggest not only that the poem changes its meaning according to the context in which it was produced (19th century), but also the context in which it is being read (the now?).

© University of East Anglia
This article is from the free online

Preparing for University

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now