What Wordsworth Touched

This paper explores the occasion of Wordsworth’s retrospective commentary on his poetry as recorded by Elizabeth Fenwick in notes take at Rydal Mount in 1843. Focusing on the aging poet turning the pages of the book he holds in his hand as he reads and recalls writing his poems, the argument considers touch as a form of mediation that in bringing the subject into relation with the object also brings him into relation with his own material being. Wordsworth’s retrospective project reminds us that such materiality is an inevitable if also a fragile and changing condition of making poets as well as poems.