The poetry of william wordsworth mrs cumberland
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The Poetry of William Wordsworth Mrs. Cumberland. Objectives To understand the importance of nature as a source of comfort and inspiration in Wordsworth’s poetry To recognize elements and techniques of romantic poetry.

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The Poetry of William Wordsworth Mrs. Cumberland

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The Poetry of William WordsworthMrs. Cumberland


To understand the importance of nature as a source of comfort and inspiration in Wordsworth’s poetry

To recognize elements and techniques of romantic poetry

  • To understand Wordsworth, a person should know something of the natural surroundings in which he lived.

  • The English Lake district is as much a part of Wordsworth’s poetry as it was a dwelling place for his body and a source of refreshment and inspiration.

  • Cumbria, as it is now called, is a compact area of northwestern England, a living record of the glacial giant’s footsteps that hollowed out the steep cliffs and moors, leaving some areas filled with dark pools, other with lush green pastures and fertile fields

  • The ancient Vikings, having cherished Cumbria as a miniature Scandinavia, left their mark in their descendants, place names, dialect, and the hardy breed of Herdwick sheep whose variegated wool is woven into cloth of finely blended shades of gray

  • William Wordsworth, drank deeply from Cumbria’s beauty, from the sun-dappled Rydal Water to the thick white mists veiling Helvellyn’s peak

  • Not only did Wordsworth live in a place of lavish natural beauty, but he also tool a different attitude toward nature reflected order in the universe, Romantic poets personalized it and found nature to offer a way into their passionate inmost feelings.

  • For Wordsworth, nature offers the perfect venue for carrying out his revolutionary individualistic- yet universalistic- philosophy of poetry

  • In the Preface to Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth speaks of poetry as “emotion recollected in tranquility.”

  • “Tintern Abbey” offers a fine example of this standard, reflecting the place of nature in leading the poet to recollect powerful emotions

  • The first 22 lines of “Tintern Abbey” describe a landscape in the popular “picturesque” manner

  • This method moves the eye deliberately from foreground to middle distance to background

  • Wordsworth lead the eye to sky, cliff, tree, fruit, cottages, hedge-rows, lawns, and chimney-smoke.

  • Then he switches to describing his own emotional awareness of this scene as a sustaining power, revived at this moment in all its pure, uncorrupted force

  • The poem then recalls the poet’s boyhood with a new self-understanding

  • Now he is able to listen to the “still, sad music of humanity” and to unite himself with a sublime presence that joins nature and poet

  • Whether he is far from the inspiring scene in time or space is immaterial

  • He can recall at will the original scene and emotions

  • Five years have passed since he first visited the Wye Valley

  • In the interim, he has often recalled the scene and the feelings of his own pleasure

  • Revisiting the scene, he feels the same powerful emotion at its beauty

  • He is not only looking at the Wye, but also observing himself looking at it

  • And, in the process of recalling his own experience (speaking as “I”) he offers the reader the same experience through his imagery and his presentation of universal human experience

  • In reading the poem, the reader takes on the 1st person voice of the poet and shares his experience

  • The process Wordsworth uses in “Tintern Abbey” reflects his Romantic values.

Use language of prose, “the language really spoken by men” ( but he means to use “a selection” of real language as befits his purpose, not to present “the vulgarity and meanness of ordinary life”

Write in such a way as to create in his readers the same passions he felt in composing his poetry

“choose incidents and situations from common life” and present “the essential passions of the heart”

Avoid personification of abstract ideas

Present general truths of human life- “the great and universal passions of men”- not specific local matters

In Lyrical Ballads he states:

Lake District

  • “Tintern Abbey” is a rather long poem of more than 150 lines.

  • In the first 22 lines, Wordsworth describes his return, after five years, to the fertile valley of the River Wye.

  • In lines 88-111, the poet meditates on what nature has meant to him over the years

  • Read two excerpts from “Tintern Abbey” (Lines 1-22 and 88-111)

  • Why would Wordsworth find in this spot that makes him return to it, either physically or mentally.

  • His formula: “emotion” recollected in “tranquility”

  • Wordsworth does not merely describe the scene

    • He presents his own emotional response to it

  • Read Three Sonnets:

    • It is a beauteous evening

    • The word is too much with us

    • Composed upon Westminister Bridge

    • What emotion is recollected in each sonnet?

    • What does nature reveal to the observer?

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