Ralph Waldo Emerson on Nature Essay better then nature. Emerson reminds us that we are part of nature. What this suggests is that William Wordsworth as a Poet of Nature: As a poet of Nature, Wordsworth stands supreme. He is a worshipper of Nature, Nature’s devotee or high-priest. The Romantic poets like Wordsworth and Keats, who were active in the nineteenth century, experienced the most inspiration through nature, which they captured in their poetry. William Wordsworth, especially, in his poetry, uses descriptions of nature to raise the mind to mystic heights. William Wordsworth and Nature William Wordsworth is one of the famous authors from the Romantic era. Romanticism was an era which began to change during the French Revolution and continued through the Industrial Revolution. Wordsworth’s Nature. A great example of an ecocritical reading of Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is Scott Hess’s article “John Clare, William Wordsworth, and the (Un)Framing of Nature.” Hess argues that Wordsworth treats the daffodils like a photo on a postcard. Wordsworth doesn’t involve himself in nature. William Wordsworth as a Poet of Nature: As a poet of Nature, Wordsworth stands supreme. He is a worshipper of Nature, Nature’s devotee or high-priest. His love of Nature was probably truer, and tenderer, than that of any other English poet, before or since.
- Tag: William Wordsworth
- The Prelude – William Wordsworth
- William Wordsworth and Nature
- On Wordsworth and Emerson's Conceptions of Nature
When I went for a walk, I felt like I was a cloud, floating above the hills and valleys below. Suddenly I saw a huge number of daffodils, right beside a lake and under some trees. They were swaying in the breeze. There were so many daffodils that they looked like the stars in our galaxy. The daffodils formed a line that stretched around much of the bay.
In one glance I could see ten thousand of them. They looked liked they were dancing. The waves in the bay also seemed to dance, but the daffodils looked happier.
Tag: William Wordsworth
This is where you figure out how the text creates meaning. What kind of patterns can you spot? Does the text have a certain form e. Is the text unified or are there gaps, contradictions, or ironic moments?
Remember that analysis is more than spotting a simile or metaphor. Form and Function Every text has a certain shape and form. Wordsworth chose this form not only to express his strong feelings about nature, but also because the lyric has a simplicity and directness that itself seems natural. The last two lines of each stanza thus form a rhyming couplet, which provides a sense of closure after the previous flowing lines. Wordsworth chose this meter because this stress pattern sounds easy and natural.
It fits his Romantic notion that poetic language should avoid artificiality. In addition, the lines are fairly short, which again makes the poem more direct and accessible. Literary Devices Not every poem uses the same literary devices, which means not only that we have to attune ourselves to a great many poetic techniques, but also that every choice is significant.
After that the poem becomes more metaphorical.
The Prelude – William Wordsworth
One of the most pervasive metaphors is that the flowers are dancing. The word is used in some form in every stanza of the poem dancing, dance, danced, dances.
The whole poem, then, is full of movement. Most of the metaphors involve an element of personification. Personification means that the poet attributes human qualities to non-human things. Why does Wordsworth use personification so extensively? A lot of readers have found this a rather odd attitude. He describes the scene as if this is how it really was. And if we agree with the Romantic idea that our understanding of nature is always subjective, then we cannot really fault Wordsworth for using such fanciful imagery.
From an emotional point of view this is exactly what Wordsworth saw. He literally felt as lonely as a cloud before feeling as if he might dance with the daffodils.
Such is the power of the imagination. What is most remarkable about the poem is that despite all the hyperbole, the poem still feels natural and unforced. Instead the sentence continues across the end of the line without a pause. Here, for example, are the opening lines of the third stanza: The first three stanzas describe how the speaker felt in the moment; the last stanza relates how the memory of the scene subsequently affected him.
The scene also retains a kind of freshness and an ability to surprise.
William Wordsworth and Nature
Nature seems to sneak up and catch him unawares. However, there are some differences between the two experiences. By contrast, the memory of the event may not be as intense, but the poet is more self-conscious.
By contrasting the two experiences, Wordsworth is exploring a question that fascinated the Romantics: Composing a poem is a rather active process involving a great deal of thought and revision, whereas the experience itself leaves the poet passive and overwhelmed.
While the poem raises these questions, it never treats them as a serious problem. The movement from the first three stanzas to the last one is seamless.
Despite becoming more self-aware, the poet continues to find joy in nature and makes the poetic process seem effortless and spontaneous. Conclusion Our close reading has not covered every last aspect of the poem—it merely shows what is possible.
Whereas a close reading works primarily with the patterns found in the text, there are many more perspectives that can enrich our understanding of the poem.
These are of course not entirely separate stages of reading and interpretation. Our close reading will inevitably be informed by what we learn about the context. Romanticism William Wordsworth was a Romantic poet. Romanticism was an artistic movement that spread across Europe in the late 18th century and lasted well into the 19th century. In fact, we still feel the effects of Romanticism today. In English literature, the Romantic period is usually dated as lasting from , the year of the French Revolution, to or The Romantic period is preceded by the Enlightenment and followed by the Victorian Period.
Romanticism was a reaction against the rationalism of the Enlightenment. It was of course also a development of ideas, but the revolutionary character of Romanticism cannot be ignored.
For instance, we easily forget how radical the French Revolution truly was. It was a rebellion against the king and the aristocracy, but it also represented an attack on the church, for one might equally want to be free from having to believe in a supreme God. The intense focus on the rights of the individual led to a greater emphasis on the value of personal subjectivity and feeling.
Romantic writers put a premium on emotions that were natural, genuine, and sincere. They treasured spontaneity of expression and detested affectation and artificiality. The Romantic period was also the era of the Industrial Revolution, and the revolutionary ideas about the rights of the individual often clashed with the demands of capitalism. Workers had few rights and worked long hours in difficult conditions. Cities grew rapidly, but the smoke and soot from the factories often made urban life grim and grimy.
Romantic writers responded to these challenges in two ways.
On the one hand, they drew attention to the plight of the less fortunate. William Blake, for example, wrote poems describing the hardships experienced by young orphans. On the other hand, Romantic literature also provided an escape from the world of industrialization and capitalism. The individual might turn to nature to find his or her true self. Nature was seen as restorative, authentic, and even divine.
Nature thus offered a transcendental experience that involved an aspect of pantheism, the idea that the divine is part of everything.
Lyrical Ballads Wordsworth shared many of the Romantic qualities described. Here is an excerpt from the preface: The principal object then which I proposed to myself in these Poems was to make the incidents of common life interesting by tracing in them, truly though not ostentatiously, the primary laws of our nature: Low and rustic life was generally chosen because in that situation the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in which can attain their maturity, are less under restraint, and speak a plainer and more emphatic language.
In other words, there should also be room for the poet to express his own passionate response to the scenes he describes. This is where Romantics praised the imagination as the greatest mental faculty. Later in the preface, Wordsworth described the poetic process as follows: Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: As he dwells on the memory, the emotions all come flooding back. He is then able to write about the whole experience—not only what happened originally, but also the subsequent remembering.
In her journal, Dorothy recounts the experience of seeing the daffodils: This wind blew directly over the Lake to them. The poem was first published in , in a collection titled Poems, in Two Volumes. At that point, the poem only had three stanzas. The second stanza was added in Reception Initial responses to the poem were often negative.
The reviewer in The Satirist wondered how anyone could think it worthwhile to write about his memories of some daffodils blowing in the wind. The description is beautiful, but it would be better bestowed on something more impressive. We can now also see that the poem was more radical than it might appear. In the next lesson we will discuss how the poem engages with contemporary theories about what might be considered beautiful and sublime.
On Wordsworth and Emerson's Conceptions of Nature
Works Cited Butler, James A. Lyrical Ballads and Poems, in Two Volumes. Stephen Gill, Cambridge UP, , pp. James Engell and W. Pamela Woof, Clarendon, William Wordsworth, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Each theoretical approach allows us to see features of the poem that we might not have noticed otherwise.