© Taylor Brown 2018

Links to other Modern Wordsworth Editions :

Ernest de Selincourt and Helen Darbishire, eds., The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth,

5 volumes, Clarendon Press, 1940-49 [revised ed., volumes I-III, 1952-4; the standard edition].

 

John O. Hayden, ed., William Wordsworth: The Poems, 2 volumes. Yale University Press, 1977.

Nicholas Halmi ed., Wordsworth's Poetry and Prose, Norton Critical Editions, 2013.

 

 

Editing Wordsworth: The Versioning Controversy

Those new to William Wordsworth's textual history may be surprised to learn that the poet avidly edited his work throughout his life; pursuing more and more refined methods of expressing the innermost workings of his mind. This being the case, Wordsworth's contemporary, as well as modern, editors find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to presenting a reliable text of his works. In addition to editing existing works, Wordsworth also recycled minutia or, sometimes even, entire lines from early poems in his later works. This is a bread-crumb trail to a starving and greedy textual scholar. Wordsworth's path of textuality is a long and winding one but so rewarding regardless of whether you are a first-time reader or a returning scholar.  

Editing Wordsworth: The Versioning Controversy

Those new to William Wordsworth's textual history may be surprised to learn that the poet avidly edited his work throughout his life; pursuing more and more refined methods of expressing the innermost workings of his mind. This being the case, Wordsworth's contemporary, as well as modern, editors find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to presenting a reliable text of his works. In addition to editing existing works, Wordsworth also recycled minutia or, sometimes even, entire lines from early poems in his later works. This is a bread-crumb trail to a starving and greedy textual scholar. Wordsworth's path of textuality is a long and winding one but so rewarding, regardless of whether you are a first-time reader or a returning scholar.  

The purpose of this edition is to unravel the the threads of inter-connectivity the poet weaved as he began crafting the lines of his poem "Nutting." The reason for choosing this poem, in particular, stems from the poet's labored fixation with refining his boyhood memories as he nears the precipice of his master-work and auto-biographical epic, 

The Prelude. Those that study Wordsworth are familiar with his interest in memory, the imagination, Nature (with a capital N), and the Poetic Genius, and it so happens that "Nutting" marks the early manifestation of these themes in the poet's writing. "Nutting" can be considered a singular path of experimentation and refinement, to which the poet returned often, as the image in his mind began to match the image on the page.   

Below you will find information about this project as well as the most anthologized version of the poem. The below text, for all intents and purposes, shall act as the reading-text while all other versions contained herein mark the twists and turns in the poem's textual history. I've included a Note on the Text for those interested in my style and pursuits in editing this edition as well as an introduction to editing a variorum edition online. I encourage you to travel deeper into the edition using the site navigation at the top of the page. All documentation for the project can be found in my GitHub repository which is linked in the "About" section and I've also linked other notable editions of Wordsworth's works at the bottom of the page. For questions, please feel free to email me at the contact address listed in the "About" section. Thank you and Happy Reading! 

ABOUT THE PROJECT

This edition was put together for Paul Eggert's ENGL 413 class in the Spring of 2018 at

Loyola University Chicago by Taylor Brown.

Documentation for the project can be found at my GitHub Repository:

https://github.com/taylorcate/Nutting_Edition_ENGL-413

A marbled page border echoing early print publications that included marbled pages.

 It seems a day

(I speak of one from many singled out)

One of those heavenly days that cannot die;

When, in eagerness of boyish hope, 

I left our cottage-threshold, sallying forth

With a huge wallet o'er my shoulders slung,

A nutting-crook in hand; and turned my steps 

Tow'rd some far-distant wood, a Figure quaint,

Tricked out in proud disguise of cast-off weeds

Which for that service had been husbanded,

By exhortation of my frugal Dame

Motley accoutrement, of power to smile

At thorns, and brakes, and brambles,—and, in truth, 

More ragged than need was! O'er path-less rocks, 

Through beds of matted fern, and tangled thickets, 

Forcing my way, I came to one dear nook

Unvisited, where not a broken bough

Dropped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign

Of devastation; but the hazels rose

Tall and erect, with tempting clusters hung,

A virgin scene!—A little while I stood,

Breathing with such suppression of the heart

As joy delights in; and, with wise restraint

Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed

The banquet;—or beneath the trees I sate 

Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played;

A temper known to those who, after long

And weary expectation, have been blest

With sudden happiness beyond all hope. 

Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves 

The violets of five seasons re-appear

And fade, unseen by any human eye;

Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on

For ever; and I saw the sparkling foam,

And—with my cheek on one of those green stones

That, fleeced with moss, under the shady trees,

Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep—

I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound,

In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay 

Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure,

The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,

Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,

And on the vacant air. Then up I rose,

And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash

And merciless ravage: and the shady nook

Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower,

Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up 

Their quiet being: and, unless I now

Confound my present feelings with the past, 

Ere from the mutilated bower I turned

Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,

I felt a sense of pain when I beheld

The silent trees, and saw the intruding sky.—

Then, dearest Maiden, move along these shades

In gentleness of heart; with gentle hand 

Touch—for there is a spirit in the woods. 

NUTTING

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

55

Annotations:

*Notes were informed by Daniel Robinson's annotations to the poem prepared for his edition of Lyrical Ballads: forthcoming in 2019 from Bloomsbury Press. 

Nutting. By WW, written winter 1798-99, while WW and Dorothy were in Goslar, Germany. This poem was among the fragments and passages WW wrote as he began to compose his master-work and biographical epic, The Prelude

3. our cottage-threshold: "The house at which I was boarded during the time I was at School." [WW's Note] The house is Hugh and Ann Tyson's cottage at Colthouse, near Hawkshead where WW attended grammar school before attending Cambridge.

4. wallet: a bag or tote used when traveling, usually associated with peddlers. 

7. weeds: rough, worn, clothing suitable for outdoor play. 

10. my frugal Dame: Ann Tyson

11. Motley: incongruously mixed, clashing. 

30-31. The violets...human eye: cf. Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard": "Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, | And waste its sweetness on the desert air" (55-56).

33. water-breaks: small ripples or interruptions of the flow of water around rocks, typically referring to a stream; "according to the OED WW coined the term but cites the first instance as 1807 in one of the sonnets from P2V. Here it is seven years earlier."

41. stocks and stones: idols made of wood or rock; cf. Jeremiah 2:26-27: "As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, | Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us." See also Wisdom of Solomon 14:21: "And this was an occasion to deceive the world: for men, serving either calamity or tyranny, did ascribe unto stones and stocks the incommunicable name"; and Milton, Sonnet 18, "On the Late Massacre in Piedmont": "When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones" (4).

 

53. Maiden: in DCMS 16.25, the speaker's companion is named "Lucy."

 
 
 

Editor's Note on the Text

Anyone who knows me personally knows I have a strange and interesting relationship with this poem. From the time I was a sophomore in college (working toward my B.A. in English at Widener University) I became increasingly interested in Wordsworth's poetry, particularly the poems that contain WW's idyllic childhood memories which would later populate the opening books of The Prelude. I worked closely with my professor and mentor Daniel Robinson, acclaimed Wordsworth editor and coauthor of the Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth (with even more esteemed editor Richard Gravil) on an edition of Lyrical Ballads as well as The Bloomsbury Anthology of Romantic Poetry (forthcoming in 2019). Needless to say, my undergraduate career was unique and my experiences, particularly in textual scholarship and manuscript study, have colored the methods through which I endeavor to represent the texts I edit as a modern digital humanist and scholarly editor. I am probably most interested in the ways the digital edition will evolve with our reconciliation of born physical vs. born digital artifacts. Since this poem entered my life, about three years ago now, I have longed to make a digital "Nutting" edition, collating all of the extant versions in one accessible and easy to navigate platform. I knew executing this edition would have to be done online, but it wasn't until now as I find myself working closely with like-minded and collaboratively driven individuals at The Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities at Loyola University Chicago (where I'm currently pursuing my M.A.) that I began to truly formulate what methods I would use to make this edition a reality. 

While many editing rationales and theories were considered during the development stages of this edition, no single editor has had quite so significant an impact on my editing style as Jerome McGann. Throughout my study of textual scholarship, McGann's theories on the sociology of texts always made the most sense to me—perhaps because, being a digital native myself, I have always harbored a propensity for large scale, dynamic, representations of textual histories such as you can only truly find in a digital edition. Many of McGann's writings have influenced my rationale including A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism (1983), his 2014 book A New Republic of Letters. Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction, as well as his textual commentary and notes to Byron: The Complete Poetical Works, ed. with Introduction, Apparatus, and Commentaries which he edited and published throughout the eighties and early nineties. Much in the McGann style, I have endeavored to house a whole-text (or as near as is currently possible to a whole-text) transmission history for Wordsworth's poem "Nutting." Unlike the bower the young poet "deformed" and "sullied," I attempted to include as many witnesses in the poem's transmission as possible to provide my users with a text that, bolstered by its rich sociological history, challenges the notion that a work is conceived in a silo—remote from the messy and complicated influence of the actors in the transmission. Instead, I wanted to celebrate that messiness, to unveil the intricacies of composition and life-long editing (on the part of the author and the editors that took over the work after the poet's death) that led to the creation of not one but many versions of this wonderful poem, from manuscript to print publication. 

There are certain recognized texts assembled by Wordsworth's long list of dedicated editors without which a variorum edition of his poetry would be extremely difficult to reconstruct. The first of these is of course The Cornell Wordsworth Collection, compiled by George Harris Healey (1957), which lists, in rich bibliographic detail, all of the existing witnesses in Wordsworth's transmission history. While I was already familiar with the manuscript copies of the poem, my knowledge of the print editions the poem appeared in was severely lacking. My method for reconstructing the print history of the poem was to select titles from the Cornell catalog that either explicitly stated including poems from Lyrical Ballads or were attempts at collected editions, then I ventured to find the editions through Google Books to confirm the poem was collected therein. This was a fairly seamless reconstruction, until I discovered that many of the later editions have yet to be digitized and made publicly available. The second text I referenced will come as a surprise to no Wordsworth scholar: The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, edited by E. De Selincourt (1944). De Selincourt's edition is incredibly rich and I found the logic easy to follow. This is also the edition from which my reading-text derives. To confirm that De Selincourt's version of the poem was in fact the most subsequently anthologized version of "Nutting," I referenced other anthologies of Romantic poetry as well as John O. Hayden's critical edition William Wordsworth: The Poems (1977) which gave me ideas for editions to link for further reading and a timeline of the poet's life that I found incredibly helpful. Finally, a great deal of the information I included about the manuscript copies of the poems was passed down to me by my professor and mentor Daniel Robinson. I also referenced the digital collection-records at the Jerwood Center where I attended a short course in manuscript study under the direction of head curator Jeff Cowton. My primary function as compiler in this edition would have been sincerely complicated were I to reconstruct this history without the help of the editors that came before me in the transmission, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to count myself among them. 

"Nutting": A Textual History

Collated Manuscripts in Order of Creation:

*DCMS stands for Dove Cottage Manuscript. 

 

DCMS 15.10

Date 1798–1799

Notes In William Wordsworth's hand. The version in this MS. includes various revisions, and the introductory poem. Composed 1798; transcribed between December 1798 and April 1799.

(DCMS 15 is also known as “The Christabel Notebook.”)

                    

DCMS 16.25

Date 1798–1799

In the hand of Dorothy Wordsworth. Work towards ‘Nutting’ that ends in mid-sentence before leaf 83, which is a stub.

DCMS 19.7

Date 1798–1799

In William Wordsworth's hand. Lines towards the draft of ‘Nutting’ in DCMS 15 and 16.

Leaves 79v-89v. of MS JJ/DCMS 19 (“The Goslar Notebook”)

DCMS 24.1

Date 1798–1800

Contains introductory poem and lines 1-14 of ‘Nutting’. Fair copy by Mary Hutchinson, with revisions by William Wordsworth. Original version composed between October and December 1798, revisions and additions made between 1799 and 1800; transcribed sometime between April 1799 and June 1800.

Letter to STC from Goslar                 

Dated December 14 or 21, 1798. Contains early draft versions of two 'Lucy' poems by William Wordsworth with the first lines 'She dwelt among the untrodden ways...' and 'Strange fits of passion have I known:...' (cf. The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, 5 volumes, ed. E. de Selincourt, II, 29, 30). Also the latter part of ‘Nutting’ and parts of the 1799 'Prelude' (The Prelude 1798-99, edited by Stephen Parrish): the Skating Scene (150-185) and Boat-stealing Scene (81-129). No. 105 in The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, 1787-1805, ed. E. de Selincourt, revised by Chester L. Shaver.

Editions Published During the Poet's Life Containing "Nutting":

Compiled by George Harris Healey for THE CORNELL WORDSWORTH COLLECTION (1957).

For full bibliographic citations, see "Writings in Book Form" pp. 5-10.

1800

LYRICAL BALLADS, | WITH | OTHER POEMS. | IN TWO VOLUMES. | By W. WORDSWORTH

VOL. I. | SECOND EDITION* | LONDON: | PRINTED FOR T.N. LONGMAN AND O. REES, PATERNOSTER-ROW,

| BY BIGGS AND .CO BRISTOL. | 1800.

LYRICAL BALLADS, | WITH | OTHER POEMS. | IN TWO VOLUMES. | By W. WORDSWORTH

VOL. II. | FIRST EDITION | LONDON: | PRINTED FOR T.N. LONGMAN AND O. REES, PATERNOSTER-ROW,

| BY BIGGS AND CO. BRISTOL. | 1800.

1802

LYRICAL BALLADS, | WITH | PASTORAL | AND OTHER POEMS. | IN TWO VOLUMES. | By W. WORDSWORTH

VOL. I. | THIRD EDITION* | LONDON: | PRINTED FOR T.N. LONGMAN AND O. REES, PATERNOSTER-ROW,

| BY BIGGS AND COTTLE, CRAN-COURT, FLEET-STREET. | 1802.

LYRICAL BALLADS, | WITH | PASTORAL | AND OTHER POEMS. | IN TWO VOLUMES. | By W. WORDSWORTH

VOL. II. | SECOND EDITION* | LONDON: | PRINTED FOR T.N. LONGMAN AND O. REES, PATERNOSTER-ROW,

| BY BIGGS AND COTTLE, CRAN-COURT, FLEET-STREET. | 1802.

LYRICAL BALLADS, | WITH | OTHER POEMS: | IN TWO VOLUMES. | BY W. WORDSWORTH. 

VOL. I [II]. | FROM THE LONDON SECOND EDITION. | PHILADELPHIA:

| PRINTED AND SOLD BY JAMES HUMPHREYS. | 1802.

LYRICAL BALLADS, | WITH | OTHER POEMS: | IN TWO VOLUMES. | BY W. WORDSWORTH. 

VOL. I [II]. | FROM THE LONDON SECOND EDITION. | PHILADELPHIA:

| PRINTED AND SOLD BY JAMES HUMPHREYS. | FOR JOSEPH GROFF, | 1802.

1805

LYRICAL BALLADS, | WITH | PASTORAL | AND OTHER | POEMS. | IN TWO VOLUMES. | By W. WORDSWORTH

VOL. I [II]. | FOURTH EDITION* | LONDON: | PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, AND ORME,

| By R. Taylor and Co. 38, Show-Lane.  | 1805.

1815

POEMS | BY | WILLIAM WORDSWORTH: | INCLUDING | LYRICAL BALLADS, | AND THE | MISCELLANEOUS PIECES OF THE AUTHOR. | WITH ADDITIONAL POEMS, | A NEW PREFACE, AND A SUPPLEMENTARY ESSAY. | IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I [II]. | LONDON: | PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN, | PATERNOSTER-ROW. | 1815.

1815

POEMS | BY | WILLIAM WORDSWORTH: | INCLUDING | LYRICAL BALLADS, | AND THE | MISCELLANEOUS PIECES OF THE AUTHOR. | WITH ADDITIONAL POEMS, | A NEW PREFACE, AND A SUPPLEMENTARY ESSAY. | IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I [II]. | LONDON: | PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN, | PATERNOSTER-ROW. | 1815.

1820

THE | MISCELLANEOUS | POEMS | OF | WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. | IN FOUR VOLUMES.

VOL. I [ETC.]. | LONDON: | PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME AND BROWN, | PATERNOSTER-ROW. | 1820.

1824

THE | POETICAL WORKS | OF | WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. | IN FOUR VOLUMES.

VOL. I [ETC.]. | BOSTON: | PUBLISHED BY CUMMINGS, HILLIARD & CO. | HILLIARD AND METCALF, PRINTERS. | 1824. 

1827

THE | POETICAL WORKS | OF | WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. | IN FIVE VOLUMES.

VOL. I [ETC.]. | LONDON: | PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, AND GREEN, | PATERNOSTER-ROW. | 1827. 

1828

THE | POETICAL WORKS | OF | WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. | COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME.

| PARIS | PUBLISHED BY A. AND W.  GALIGNANI, | NO 18, RUE VIVIENNE. | 1828. 

1832

THE | POETICAL WORKS | OF | WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. | AND NEW EDITION. | IN FOUR VOLUMES.

VOL. I [ ETC.] | LONDON: | PRINTED FOR | LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, GREEN& LONGMAN,

| PATERNOSTER-ROW. | 1832.

*Editions with asterisks derive from subsequent printings of the edition print run. These are the existing editions on record.

**While "Nutting" was collected many more times, even during the poet's life, it should be noted that editions of the Poetical Works published between 1832 and 1850 are not currently available on Google Books. An attempt will be made to routinely check for those editions so that a more complete, variorum record of the poem can be established and added to this evolving edition.  

 

"Nutting": A Variorum Edition

Editing an edition, regardless of the author, is a varied and complex act. Many methods, critical approaches, principles, and traditions must be considered before an editor can endeavor to present a reliable text. This being said, however, the single constant in the history of textual studies is that new approaches and concepts of representation are always emerging; particularly now as the influence of technology and new media transforms the ways in which we interact with these physical artifacts and witnesses. This shift in representation is both encouraging  and thought-provoking as it becomes more and more clear that the younger audiences coming to these works are often first introduced to them in a digital form rather than a physical one. How must this alter their idea of the text and its history?

My goal in creating this digital-variorum edition was to present a text that would appeal to both the first-time reader as well as the returning-scholar; an edition that unravels and interacts with its constituent parts as we, the readers, collide and rearrange the meanings we deduce. That is why the variorum edition is the ideal candidate for a poem with such a rich textual history—a variorum is simply an edition which collates all existing versions of a work, including those prepared by other editors. I wanted to create an edition that was discoverable—meaning an interested user could interact with elements of my editing rationale in the form of nuggets instead of a deluge of information they may not necessary need nor want—but that was also a whole-text account of the poem's transmission. I am also sincerely interested in any feedback readers of the edition might have regarding the presentation of this text and I encourage all to send any inquiries or comments to the email address listed in the "About" section. To access the deeper levels of the variorum, use the drop-down menu options under "The Variorum" tab.  

 
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