Monday, January 26, 2015

Chase Russell - passage

My preliminary research indicates that Wordsworth's writing (the content, method, and audience of his writing) actually undermines what he claims his poetic goals to be. For example, he wrote about "common," "rural" people of the country, but to city-dwellers. In fact, he inadvertently specifies his audience as high-class city-dwellers and refers to the urban masses as "them." If the goal of his writing is to restore the more sensitive faculties of human imagination, why does he not address those who, according to him, would need it most? In this sense, it seems that Wordsworth is actually increasing the schism between classes and people groups in England, rather than unifying "the vast empire of society, as it is spread over the whole earth, and over all time." His poetry seems to take on a quite snobbish and empty tone when this context this understood.


Anonymous said...

Heffernan - Although I agree with your points regarding Wordsworth's audience (because they came from my article, which you clearly read), I would encourage you to consider why Wordsworth would take this stance. Given his concept of the poet and his strong emphasis on the individual, I would argue that it is impossible for Wordsworth to incorporate the urban masses in his conceptualization of the poetic mind.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is precisely the lack of individuality in London that so troubled Wordsworth. It is worth noting that the only points in "The Prelude" where Wordsworth is truly able to identify and give voice to the universal spirit of poetry has to do with individuals. Even more interestingly, he uses metaphors of nature in his description of these individuals (he describes one man as a sunbeam against the dark mountain of the city).