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
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
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
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”
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
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.
Spontaneous over-flow of emotion… “Spots of time” His mind’s ability to transform remembered images of nature into a near “religious experience” Examples: Tintern Abbey I wandered lonely as a cloud
“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
“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
“I Wandered…” continued Poet’s mood is transformed A poem of imagination: “An elementary feeling and simple impression…upon the imaginative faculty.” First three stanzas dramatize the experience The poet recalls the experience in a “spot of time” in the last.
“We Are Seven” “How does the poem represent the consciousness or subjectivity of a child? How does this differ from the adult speaker’s 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?
Journal Question: Tintern Abbey: In what ways does this poem exemplify the poetic principles explained in Wordsworth’s Preface? What does the poet hope for Dorothy in his final stanza? What role does memory play in this projected future?
Thursday Part II
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 speaker’s love for the heroine
“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?
“Michael” Characters: Michael, an eighty-year old shepherd. Isabel - Michael’s wife twenty years his junior Luke - their son.
“Michael” – pt 2 Situation: Family lives on Michael’s inherited land for many years He loses half of it to pay nephew’s 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
“Michael” pt. 3 Ending: Son becomes a criminal, flees Michael and his wife mourn, but die within years of each other Moral? Message?
Tintern Abbey meditative “Worshipper of Nature” (line 152) “power of nature” to heal the soul His mind’s 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
Cows grazing near ruins of 13th century Tintern Abbey United Kingdom May 1950 Photographer: Nat Farbman
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?