Wordsworth and the Idea of a Poetic Theodicy

Mark Alznauer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Claims are often made that, in the late eighteenth century or early nineteenth century, artists attempted to take over certain functions from religion, particularly the function of redeeming the world. But what exactly it might mean for art to redeem the world is rarely treated with any precision. In this essay, I show that Wordsworth’s idea of a poetic theodicy offers an unusually clear and appealing form of the redemptive view of art, which, when properly understood, is less vulnerable to standard criticisms than is commonly thought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-279
Number of pages17
JournalPhilosophy and Literature
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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