the tremendous region whence I had so lately travelled;

Category: Writing & Reading | Type: Discussion | Title: David Copperfield (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: I Am Born

Part of an evocative paragraph that recalls Wordsworth's Ode: Intimations of Immortality upon Recollections of Early Childhood, which imagines each individual soul journeying across vast stellar spaces to earth. There will be several other instances in the novel in which Dickens appears to draw on Wordsworth. 

David Copperfield is Wordsworthian in its attention to three features of our lives, memory, association, and the incandescent power of childhood. There are moments in the novel that lead one to suppose that Wordsworth's great Ode, one of the best-known poems of the first half-century, influenced Dickens's imagery and outlined his ideas. Or it may be that the prominence of Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge throughout the 19th c. (Wordsworth was Poet Laureate from 1847 until his death in 1850) combined with Dickens's own proclivities would lead him independently to ideas Wordsworth and other first-generation Romantics held. Dickens's biographer Peter Ackroyd mentions Wordsworth only twice:.

In a speech in honour of Dickens Macready [the famous actor and close of Dickens] compared him to Wordsworth [upon the completion of Nicholas Nickleby], which seems to have prompted Dickens to tell a fellow guest that he enjoyed Wordsworth's pretty but somewhat morbid poem, "We Are Seven," one of the few indications that Dickens admired the first generation of Romantic poets. (292)

The second occasion is Dickens's parodying Wordsworth and the other Lake poets, Coleridge and Southey, through a character in Dombey and Son. 

return to text