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Abstract

This essay serves as an introduction to the essays collected in the ‘Nineteenth-century Poetry and Forgiveness’ cluster. It takes as its foundation the recent turn to questions of hospitality, forgiveness and gift in the intra-disciplinary field of religion, philosophy and literature and highlights the centrality of these issues for reading nineteenth-century poetry. The essay argues that nineteenth-century poetry attempts to figure forgiveness as poetic sound and rhythm as a way of thinking reciprocal forgiving relationships between people. Part I contextualizes this argument and argues for an understanding of forgiveness through emotion. Part II offers an overview of the field of forgiveness scholarship and explores its relevance for nineteenth-century debate on the topic. Part III offers a way into thinking forgiveness as sound and rhythm in Wordsworth's poem ‘Airey-Force Valley’ through Martin Heidegger's reading of poetics and being.