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WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770-1850)

- grasp of rural communal relationships


- admired Burns achievement pilgrimage to Ayrshire: To the Sons of Burns
after Visiting their Fathers Grave
- poetry of place, character, relationships
Lyrical Ballads 1798 use of the ballad form remoulding traditional subjects,
striving to find appropriate language (Preface)
- humble and rustic life, the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in
which they can attain their maturity; (they) speak a and more emphatic
language
- while Burns vernacular poems draw strength from the vigour of the living
dialect, Wordsworth lacks such an alternative; he has the desire to break with
the artificialities of the 18th century tradition of pastoral decorum
- his early poetry shows a radical shift from gentility and false sophistication,
but it is not revolutionary in thought and theory
- ambition to effect literary reform
- The Excursion 1814, Book VIII manufacturing district in northern England
a huge town, continuous and compact/Hiding the face of earth for
leagues.../Oer which the smoke of unremitting fires/Hangs permanent
against industrialisation
- his birth and education in NE (Lake District) made him sensitive to wild
nature, the cooperative workings of humankind and nature
- defines himself through his perception of the natural as opposed to the
mechanical world political and social ideas ordered to rural mutual
responsibility
- early protest against suffering, injustice, incomprehension, inhumanity later
retracts the radical Salisbury Plain 1793, revises The Ruined Cottage 1897
to Book I of the Excursion (neutral)
- Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey, on revisiting the Banks of the
Wye during a Tour, July 1878 self-justifying explanation of his partial retereat
from politics
- the longest poem; eschews the ballad simplicity, crowns the collection;
introspection and meditation
- remembered natural scenery, felt in the blood, and felt along the heart,
tranquil restoration, still, sad music of humanity
- love of nature and its teachings precludes social perceptions of class divisions
in industrialisation, rural depopulation, explosion of social questioning (French
rev)
- preface emotion recollected in tranquillity; emotion stimulated by nature
and related outwards by a moral or social incident
- society is secondary and derivative from the primary experience of the still
undamaged natural word

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- tragic or unhappy incidents; language of ballads
- happy but passive responsiveness to place and sensation; passivity turning
from books to nature an impulse from a vernal wood teaches you more than
all the sages can; dialogue form in Expostulation and Reply, The Tables Turned
- The Thorn interplay between personal experience, speculation and hearsay; a
solitary secluded narrator implies the listener as his sister and friend; best
portion of a good mans lifelittle, nameless, unremembered acts/ Of kindness
and of love
- interaction between his personal morality and the landscapes tutelary power;
vision=action; morally educative nature; love of nature/humanity
- long autobiography in the Prelude, 1799, 1805-39 published 1850 the
growth of a poets mind; an ideal pattern of self-representation; the poet as a
hero of is poetic life (Keatss egotistical sublime); an explanation of the poets
destiny; fair seed-timefostered alike by beauty and by fear in his Lake
District childhood; Cambridge, confusion of London; vivid accounts of action,
learning, secular speculation; retired life, free imagination and creative solitary
figure
- descriptive blank verse; that universal power/And fitness in the latent
qualities/And essences of things. By which the mind/Is moved by feelings of
delight; ecstatic accounts of awing grandeur beyond place description
- To the Daisy, To the Celandine, I Wanderd Lonely as a Cloud, (1807 Poems, 2
volumes), Ode (Intimations of Immortality) nature representations, dynamic,
panoramic, the creative energy of God in pedlars, leech-gatherers, farmers,
labourers, wanderers
- Michael: A Pastoral Poem, 1800 real shepherd with a mind intense, and
frugal, apt for all affairs; landscape as useful, massive, historic, impersonal,
peopled and empty; Michael reads nature in the signs of lost history, he
recreates and revivifies history
- redefinition of proper subjects/objects of poetry; lexical and metrical gift;
acute distinction between urban/rural, manual/mechanical labour; A multitude
of causes unknown to former times are now acting with a combined force to
blunt the discriminating powers of the mind
- later impact on E. culture; breaks with old prejudice and tastes and moulds
new ones; ambition to be a man speaking to men a community of listeners, not
an isolated, self-centred speaker
- other speakers (child in We are Seven, leech gatherer in Resolution and
Independence, ragged soldier in Prelude IV
- sonnets dedicated to Liberty in 1809; Ecclesiastical Sonnets 1822-45 public
declaration and address in Miltonic tone Milton as the spirit of English liberty
- sect of poets, dissenters from the established systems of poetry and
criticismthe most formidable conspiracy against sound judgement in matters
poetical; from solitary contempt to public statement

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