Essay Color Key

Free Essays
Unrated Essays
Better Essays
Stronger Essays
Powerful Essays
Term Papers
Research Papers





Deist Pantheism in Tintern Abbey

Rate This Paper:

Length: 749 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Red (FREE)      
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

missing works cited

Deist-Pantheism in "Tintern Abbey"

Definitions of pantheism

"Tintern Abbey" typifies William Wordsworth's desire to demonstrate what he sees as the oneness of the human psyche with that of the universal mind of the cosmos. It is his pantheistic attempt to unfurl the essence of nature's sublime mystery that often evades understanding, marking his progression as a young writer firmly rooted within the revolutionary tradition to one caught in perplexity about which way to proceed socially and morally, and further, to define for himself a new personal socio-political vision. Moreover, "Tintern Abbey" exhibits Wordsworth's eclipsing of the Cartesian belief in a supernatural creator who stands beyond the universe, echoing the ideas of Burach Spinoza, and redefining late eighteenth century deism into a more personal, pantheist revision of nature. The poem's portrayal of the intimate connection with nature implicitly underscores Wordsworth's view on conventional religious belief as one surpassing commonly held interpretations of the supernatural. It conveys Wordsworth's ideal of the universe as bound inextricably within the essence of all that is harmonious and natural -- a "Oneness." It sympathetically depicts the inseparability of "God" from nature, the "material-spirit" of energy that, as Wordsworth portrays it, imbues the life force with
. . . a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. (96-103)

In terms of "Tintern Abbey"'s naturalistic depiction of nature's interconnection with the universe and humanity, the poem reveals Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Thelwall's implicit influence upon Wordsworth's development as both a writer and naturalist poet. Similar to Wordsworth, for instance, John Thelwall illuminates the organic spur of the human frame and other life forms in his scientific prose, such as found in his celebrated medical essay, Towards A Definition of Animal Vitality (1793). Thelwall's "cosmic-monism" fuses the workings of the human body to the movements of heaven and earth -- a holistic interconnection of the organic to the inorganic. His connection to Wordsworth through Coleridge serves to partially explain the inherent pantheistic vision in "Tintern Abbey"'s 1798 composition. In a letter written in October of 1797, Coleridge expresses this way of seeing nature to Thelwall, stating that,

I can at times feel strongly the beauties you describe -- in themselves and for themselves. But more frequently all things appear little -- all the knowledge that can be acquired, child's play; the universe itself, what but an immense heap of things? I can contemplate nothing but the parts, and parts are all little! My mind feels as if it ached to behold and know something great, something one and indivisible -- and it is only in the faith of this that rocks or waterfalls, mountains or even caverns, give me a sense of sublimity or majesty! But in this faith all things counterfeit infinity! (S. T. Coleridge. "Letter from S.T. Coleridge to John Thelwall, 14 October 1797 (extract)," in Wu, Romanticism, 2000: 460)

Like Wordsworth, Thelwall's materialism similarly echoes that of Baruch Spinoza's earlier philosophical view on nature and its connection with the cosmos. In this sense, he conflates Spinoza's "pancomism" that informs "Tintern Abbey"'s general method of looking at the universe through the lens of pantheistic understanding. Although not as explicit as later nineteenth century materialist thinkers who moved beyond many of the theistic philosophies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Spinoza's rejection of the "Cartesian dualism of mind and matter in favour of a God who is identified with the ultimate substance of the world" (Magnus Magnusson. "Baruch Spinoza" (1632-1677), in Chambers Biographical Dictionary (1993): 1380) foreshadows the grafting of Renaissance logic to late eighteenth century materialist ideas about the universe. In Spinoza's schema "God" no longer stands beyond the universe. His holistic conception of the universe -- different to Coleridge and Thelwall's only in degree of materialist science -- implicitly reveals itself in "Tintern Abbey", illustrating Wordsworth's universalizing deist-pantheism that reminds us, as in his "Ode. Intimations of Immortality" (1802-1804), that

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
-- "Ode. Intimations of Immortality" (1802-1804), 59-66, 77-84

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Deist Pantheism in Tintern Abbey." 123HelpMe.com. 27 Aug 2014
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=153642>.








Important Note: If you'd like to save a copy of the paper on your computer, you can COPY and PASTE it into your word processor. Please, follow these steps to do that in Windows:

1. Select the text of the paper with the mouse and press Ctrl+C.
2. Open your word processor and press Ctrl+V.

Company's Liability

123HelpMe.com (the "Web Site") is produced by the "Company". The contents of this Web Site, such as text, graphics, images, audio, video and all other material ("Material"), are protected by copyright under both United States and foreign laws. The Company makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the Material or about the results to be obtained from using the Material. You expressly agree that any use of the Material is entirely at your own risk. Most of the Material on the Web Site is provided and maintained by third parties. This third party Material may not be screened by the Company prior to its inclusion on the Web Site. You expressly agree that the Company is not liable or responsible for any defamatory, offensive, or illegal conduct of other subscribers or third parties.

The Materials are provided on an as-is basis without warranty express or implied. The Company and its suppliers and affiliates disclaim all warranties, including the warranty of non-infringement of proprietary or third party rights, and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The Company and its suppliers make no warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the material, services, text, graphics and links.

For a complete statement of the Terms of Service, please see our website. By obtaining these materials you agree to abide by the terms herein, by our Terms of Service as posted on the website and any and all alterations, revisions and amendments thereto.



Return to 123HelpMe.com

Copyright © 2000-2013 123HelpMe.com. All rights reserved. Terms of Service