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Week 2 Poems.docx - Module 2 Poetry 1 William...

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Module 2 Poetry 1. William Wordsworth (1770-1850) a. Life i. Born in the Lake District in England. Mother died when William was 8, father often off the scene for his work as a lawyer. Lifelong close friendship with his sister, the poet Dorothy Wordsworth. ii. Walking tour of France and the Alps at the age of 20, in the immediate aftermath of the French Revolution gave him a new perspective and great creative energy. iii. Published, with his great friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a volume of Lyrical Ballads that was at the forefront of the Romantic Revolution Poetry. Focused on lives of common men, and was written in a style that Wordsworth presented as “the very language of men.” iv. Wordsworth’s poetry was attentive to the moment and also to the rigorous and painstaking process of composition. Poetry, for Wordsworth, was “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” but this spontaneity is tempered by composure, as it is “emotion recollected in tranquility.” b. “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” i. The work “revisiting” is key, and the first stanza celebrates what is revisited . Look for an example of the sublime in nature amidst the many references to pastoral beauties. ii. The second stanza wants to suggest that immersion in nature has lasting benefits. Referring to his life in nature, his feelings, and memories of these, he writes “I have owed to them,/ In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,/ Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart” (351, lines 26-28). A few other instances of the benefits of life in nature. iii. In the fourth stanza we see the homage to youth that might refer back to Rousseau’s ideas of childhood . He compares the vibrant and immediate feelings of being in nature as a youth to the more thoughtful and reasoned experience of nature in adulthood . This is a loss , certainly, but he feels it has been replaced with a valuable gift—the ability to have the inner tranquility to experience in his mind and memory that which nature brought and still brings . It is implied that it is this distance from youthful frolic in nature that allows the composition of a poem such as this. iv. Most commenters would believe that the last stanza is addressed to Dorothy Wordsworth , and is essentially a kind of lecture to tell her that she too will have this double and doubly profitable relationship to nature. Also, there is a sense that the experience of the sublime is heightened when done in the company of a close companion.
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v. Of course, this kind of prose summary of what Wordsworth reveals in his poem is only an approximation—while there is real value in grasping the idea, the greatest value is in apprehending the language of the poem. c. “Ode on Intimations of Immortality” i. In what ways is this poem similar to “Tintern Abbey”? How does it differ?
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