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Synopsis

Wordsworth's Vagrants explores the poet's treatment of the 'idle and disorderly' in the context of the penal laws of the 1790s, when the terror of the French Revolution caused a crackdown on the beggars and vagrants who roamed the English countryside. From the Salisbury Plain poems through to Lyrical Ballads, Quentin Bailey's readings are sensitive to Wordsworth's early radicalism without equating his socio-political engagement solely with support for the French Revolution.

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