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Professor Daniel Robinson Co-Edits The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth

Dr. Daniel Robinson, professor of English at Widener University, has co-edited The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth with Dr. Richard Gravil, chairman of The Wordsworth Conference Foundation.This text joins the Oxford Handbooks of Literature series published by Oxford University Press. Books in this series contain essays written by distinguished, present-day scholars and serve as a reference for those studying or working in literature.

Robinson and Gravil also co-wrote the introduction to the Handbook and wrote an opening essay titled "Of Daffodils and Yew-Trees: Two Poems of Imagination," which focuses on two important Wordsworth poems not addressed by other Handbook contributors. In addition, Robinson and Gravil each contributed two essays of their own.

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Robinson’s contributions include the essay "Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads,” which focuses on the two poets’ famous collaboration to produce the book of poems called “Lyrical Ballads,” as it first appeared in 1798. According to Robinson, later editions favor the work of Wordsworth. Robinson’s other essay, "The River Duddon and Wordsworth, Sonneteer," begins a series of essays that examine Wordsworth's later career writing sonnets, a transition that Robinson says helped Wordsworth craft a new poetic persona for himself and build a more successful relationship with the reading public.

As a scholar who has focused much of his own writing on Romantic-era poets, Robinson said that the Handbook project came about because of his desire to continue learning and focusing on William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. After enlisting the help of Gravil, he decided to submit a proposal for the Wordsworth Handbook project.

“Oxford University Press is the most distinguished academic press in the world, so our proposal was rigorously vetted by six anonymous scholars whose criticisms and recommendations we had to address in a lengthy process of revision,” said Robinson. “Finally, we got the contract and commissioned more than 40 distinguished contributors. After six years of work, I still can't believe it's real.”

The final Handbook has more than 850 pages. It is available for purchase through Oxford University Press in addition to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers worldwide. It also comes in an eBook version.

“It's a little terrifying to be responsible for that much printed text and to send it out into the world, hoping that you've done right by your contributors and your readers,” said Robinson. “It is no less a dream come true, and I feel like there's much more yet to do.”

In 2014, Robinson published the monograph “Myself and Some Other Being: Wordsworth and the Life Writing,” in which he tells of the innovative style of life-writing that evolved out of Wordsworth’s journey to complete his autobiographical epic poem, “The Prelude.” He currently has a book project in the pipeline titled “Wordsworth and Coleridge: Major Works,” which highlights the friendship and collaboration of these literary figures.

Robinson has also focused much of his attention on another Romantic-era poet, Mary Robinson. His published edition of the collected poems of Mary Robinson is the first and only scholarly edition of her poetry. His monograph “The Poetry of Mary Robinson: Form and Fame” is also the first and only scholarly work on Mary Robinson’s entire poetic output. He further contributes to the re-discovery of Romantic-period women writers as a member of the team working on a scholarly edition of the collected works of Anna Laetitia Barbauld for Oxford University Press.

Robinson’s scholarly accomplishments combined with his ability to engage students in his research contributed to his selection for Widener University’s first Homer C. Nearing Jr. Distinguished Professorship, which is named after a former professor of English at Widener and a well-known authority on historical English poetry. Robinson holds this endowed appointment, which began in 2014, for two years.

Robinson resides in Wallingford, Pa., and is the singer-songwriter-bassist for the rock group Smart Barker. He earned his bachelor’s in English from James Madison University and his master’s in English and doctorate in English literature from the University of South Carolina.

Widener University is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve more than 6,300 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free campus. Visit the university's website, www.widener.edu