Adam Kirsch’s THE DISCARDED LIFE reviewed in Literary Matters!

The evolution of blank verse from Milton to Wordsworth, via Cowper, was not solely a change in diction and subject matter. Even as classical and biblical themes were displaced by a sense of personal mythos—and even while plain speech triumphed over grammatical inversions—so, too, was there a recalibration of meter. At least as riveting as Milton’s engagement with Shakespearean blank verse, Wordsworth’s conduct of the Miltonic line took it into tranquil waters, where fewer metrical irregularities could obstruct a clear view to the bottom.