Dances with Daffodils
Wordsworth and the Postcolonial Canon
Nobody in England much liked Wordsworth’s Daffodil poem (as he occasionally called it) when it first appeared, and nearly two hundred years later, nobody much likes it still, certainly nobody with post-colonial credentials, and yet there are few poems in the English language as familiar. Most people who know any poetry at all can recite some of its lines; and there are a lot of poets would love to write as unlikable a poem as that.
Much attention has been given to the grotesque disjunction between the world of imperial English daffodils and that of colonial geographies and to the distortions that Wordsworth’s immensely popular poem produced in, say, the West Indian ...