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William Wordsworth

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Erika Hipsky

on 29 April 2013

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Transcript of William Wordsworth

A Brief History and Analysis Early Life In the Beginning One Work to Start It ALL! So What is Romanticism? A Song for the Wandering Jew displays great Romanticism because it equates man to nature through common characteristics. The poem describes "clouds that love through air to hasten" but attach themselves to "the heads of towering hills" when "the storm its fury stills." It also introduces an ostrich that runs "vagrant over the desert sands" but must sit with her eggs during the "chill night that care demands." Though these aspects of nature crave adventure and activity, they know they must rest in times of danger or duty. Wordsworth concludes the poem by stating that he, too, feels "the Wanderer in [his] soul." William Wordsworth's common themes of nature and its connection to humanity are no surprise, considering the poet was born in the very scenic Lake District of Cumberland in the northwest part of England and spent many years also living on his grandparents moors in Penrith. At any early age, Wordsworth took interest in his father's library and spent multiple hours over the literature of both Milton and Shakespeare. After the death of his mother in 1778, the writer was sent away to various boarding schools and battled severe depression. Wordsworth eventually grew up to attend St. John's College in Cambridge and receive his B.A. degree, spending every holiday taking tours and visiting renowned places of landscape and beauty such as certain areas in France, Switzerland and Italy. It was during this time that he published his first ever work, a sonnet in The European Magazine. After earning his degree, Wordsworth continued writing and publishing his small works until he finally earned a legacy of 900 euros in 1795, allowing him to pursue poetry as a career. In this same year, he met fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and developed a very close friendship with him. The two collaborated to write the famed and esteemed Lyrical Ballads. It was this collection of poems that launched the entire movement of Romanticism in literature! In his preface to Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth described his Romantic poetry as a new type of poetry which would apply the "real language of men" rather the usual poetic diction of that time period. In all, Romanticism focuses on the aesthetic experience and emphasizes on passionate emotion - such as horror or awe, especially when evoked by picturesque nature. Ideally, Romanticism served to place human emotion far over any scientific logic. Example One: A Song for the Wandering Jew William Wordsworth Example Two: Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known This poem is Romantic as it seamlessly demonstrates the effect surroundings can have one's fantasy. The poem begins with the speaker traveling to his love, Lucy's, cottage and illustrating her to be as "fresh as a rose in June." Yet, the man is soon distracted by the image of the "descending" moon "sinking" behind his love's cottage. The tone of the poem drastically changes with this imagery, and the speaker finds himself wondering "if Lucy should be dead!" Example Three: The Solitary Reaper Finally, this poem is highly Romantic as it places the passion and enjoyment of a situation over the actual logic or understanding of it. The speaker in this poem stumbles upon a Scottish woman who is singing while reaping her fields. Though the speaker doesn't understand this language, he readily admits that he's never heard "more welcome notes" be "so thrilling." He does not know if the woman sings of past wars or troubles of today, but her fluency and emotion cause the speaker to keep the song "in his heart" as if "her song could have no ending." By Erika J. Hipsky William Wordsworth 1770-1850 Form The poem is a simple ballad, following Wordsworth's stance on poetry being both graspable and relatable to the common man. Each stanza is an equal quatrain with an ABAB rhyme scheme. Commentary This poem, though written simplistically, actually shows demonstration of great technique and experienced writing. Wordsworth is able to grasp his readers not with poetic diction, but with understanding of the human emotion and complex. The poet ironically tells his audience that his morbid fears are strange when both he and the audience comprehend that inexplicable fantasy is only the human condition. Form This poem contains seven quatrains, each following Wordsworth's usual ABAB rhyme scheme. The poet's "common man" style remains prevalent. Commentary Though the author evidently juxtaposes his speaker with the various constituents of nature through characterization, he also does so through action. Because the objects of nature are personified in a way that the speaker may relate to them, man and nature are linked as one. Form Four eight-lined stanzas which all follow a ABABCCDD rhyme scheme. Commentary This is one of Wordsworth's most famous poems. While the poet exaggerates the boundaries of language, he also highlights the magic and expressiveness that comes naturally and inherently to man through tone and passion.
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