Ode on Immortality and Lines on Tintern Abbey, 1885

Two of Wordsworth’s best-known poems, “Tintern Abbey” and “Ode on Immortality,” were published together by Cassell & Co. some 35 years after Wordsworth’s death. Perhaps best known for illustrations by contemporary artists, Cassell provided readers with attractive visual aids and embellishments. The images in this small volume were hand-selected to match descriptions within the poems, but some images conveyed their messages to readers better than others. Enterprising publishers might have included pictures like this to help readers envision literary scenes and themes, introducing layers of interpretation and meaning. In this way, they could update classic works of literature for new audiences and media environments.

Contributed by Cameron Cornejo