New Book | Versed in Living Nature: Wordsworth’s Trees

Posted in books by Editor on April 22, 2023

Marking Earth Day (with Arbor Day just around the corner, on April 28) . . . distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

Peter Dale and Brandon Yen, Versed in Living Nature: Wordsworth’s Trees (London: Reaktion Books, 2022), 256 pages, ISBN: ‎ 978-1789146448, $40.

Book coverVerdant with illustrations, a meditation upon the rootedness of trees in Wordsworth’s writing and beyond.

This is the first book to address William Wordsworth’s profound identification of the spirit of nature in trees. It looks at what trees meant to him, and how he represented them in his poetry and prose: the symbolic charm of blasted trees, a hawthorn at the heart of Irish folk belief, great oaks that embodied naval strength, yews that tell us about both longevity and the brevity of human life. Linking poetry and literary history with ecology, Versed in Living Nature explores intricate patterns of personal and local connections that enabled trees—as living things, cultural topics, horticultural objects, and even commodities—to be imagined, theorized, discussed, and exchanged. In this book, the literary past becomes the urgent present.

Peter Dale lives in Essex. His previous books include The Irish Garden: A Cultural History. Brandon C. Yen divides his time between the United Kingdom and Taiwan. He is the author of ‘The Excursion’ and Wordsworth’s Iconography.


1  Between the Royal Oak and the Liberty Tree
2  An Ash Tree in Cambridge
3  Yews and the Earth
4  Ways of Seeing
5  Gardens and Parklands
6  Peregrinations
7  Scotland, 1803
8  Burns Taking Root in Cumbria
9  A Voyage to Ireland

Further Reading
Photo Acknolwedgments

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