william wordsworth

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  • 1. William Wordsworth
    1770-1850

2. Tuesday
Part I
3. Influence
Central place in the Romantic period
Experimental poet
Influenced by the ideas of the time
literature and art had a:
new stress on individual creativity
freedom to innovate.
Challenged accepted ideas:
what poetry was
how it might be written.
Together with Coleridge, brought to poetry:
fresh energy
new direction
4. Preface to the Lyrical Ballads
Spirit of the age
Wants a literary revolution:
Influenced by the French Revolution
Incorporate democratic principles into poetry
New Poetry themes:
Scenes taken from common life
Language of men
Spontaneous over-flow of powerful feeling, recollected in tranquility.
Imagination
Beauty of the universe
5. Lyrical Ballads
Lyric: In ancient Greece, a lyric was a song to accompany music from a lyre (a stringed instrument). Later the word was used for any short poem in which personal moods and emotions were expressed. Nowadays the words of popular songs are called lyrics.
Ballad: A ballad is a poem or song which usually tells a story in the popular language of the day, and has associations with traditional folk culture.
An experiment
Varied in form
Broke with the traditions of the neo-classical era that preceded
Scenes of common life vs. epic literature
6. Language of real men
What is the proper language of poetry?
Wordsworth blurs the line between prose and poetry
Problem: Why is the language of rustics the best?
Examine the conversational aspects
Ie: We Are Seven
Speaks out against figurative language, but still uses it occasionally.
2nd stanza of She dwelt among the untrodden ways
7. Nature Beauty of the Universe
Keenly interested in all the forms of nature
Often finds it hard to describe simply
Mainly explores the way which he responds and relates to the world
Saw a relationship between:
Nature
human life
Believes that nature can have an impact on:
emotional life
spiritual life
8. Imagination
Seen as a powerful, active force
works alongside our senses
interprets the way we view the world
influences how we react to events.
essential for our well-being.
Often produces the great visionary moments of his poetry.
9. Spontaneous over-flow of emotion
Spots of time
His minds ability to transform remembered images of nature into a near religious experience
Examples:
Tintern Abbey
I wandered lonely as a cloud
10. The Poems
11. Lines Written in Early Spring
What man has made of man
Does disconnection with external nature equate disconnection from human nature?
A wish to believe
12. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
One of the most anthologized poems in the world
Inspired by a walking tour with his sister in April 1802
Mary Wordsworth contributed what are now lines 21-22
The I and you of the poem are clearly defined
Outwardly a simple poem
host of daffodils biblical imagery?
Wind provides most of the visual and tactile imagery of the poem
13. I Wandered continued
Poets mood is transformed
A poem of imagination:
An elementary feeling and simple impressionupon the imaginative faculty.
First three stanzas dramatize the experience
The poet recalls the experience in a spot of time in the last.
14. We Are Seven
How does the poem represent the consciousness or subjectivity of a child?
How does this differ from the adult speakers perspective?
Which predominates in the end?
Compare and contrast the child's view of death in "We Are Seven" with Wordsworth's in "Surprised by Joy".
How are children characterized in Wordsworth's poems?
What conclusions can you draw from them?
15. Journal Question:
Tintern Abbey:
In what ways does this poem exemplify the poetic principles explained in Wordsworths Preface? What does the poet hope for Dorothy in his final stanza? What role does memory play in this projected future?
16. Thursday
Part II
17. The Lucy Poems
A grouping of poems written around the turn of the 19th century:
Strange fits of passion I have known
She dwelt among the untrodden ways
I travelled among unknown men
Three years she grew in sun and shower
A slumber did my spirit seal
Considered some of his best work
The speakers love for the heroine
18. Lucy pt. 2
Who is Lucy? not the same character as Lucy Gray
A real person
A stand-in for his sister, Dorothy?
Just a literary device?
What is the relationship between the heroine and nature?
19. Michael
Characters:
Michael, an eighty-year old shepherd.
Isabel - Michaels wife
twenty years his junior
Luke - their son.
20. Michael pt 2
Situation:
Family lives on Michaels inherited land for many years
He loses half of it to pay nephews debt
Son is sent away to earn back the money
Before he leaves they symbolically start building the sheepfold
For a short while, does well in the city
Is eventually corrupted by it
21. Michael pt. 3
Ending:
Son becomes a criminal, flees
Michael and his wife mourn, but die within years of each other
Moral? Message?
22. Tintern Abbey
meditative
Worshipper of Nature (line 152)
power of nature to heal the soul
His minds ability to transform remembered images of nature into a near religious experience
living on capital
Draws upon his own memories (with associated emotions) of events in the past
This ability is fading, wants sister to be his storehouse
Goes through different stages in his life
23. Cows grazing near ruins of 13th century Tintern Abbey
United Kingdom May 1950 Photographer: Nat Farbman
24. Discussion Question: Due Thursday 2/26
Coleridge: Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Explain the relationship between the present narrative and the past narrative in the poem.
Why is it important for the Mariner to tell his story?
Who or what forces him to do so?
Why does the wedding guest rise a sadder and a wiser man in the morn?
What knowledge does he gain and why does it make him sad?