Deist Pantheism in Tintern Abbey


Length: 749 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

"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.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Deist Pantheism in Tintern Abbey." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Oct 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=153642>.
Title Length Color Rating  
William Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey Essay - William Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey As students, we are taught that William Wordsworth's basic tenets of poetry are succinct: the use of common language as a medium, common man as a subject, and organic form as an inherent style. Yet beyond these rudimentary teachings, it should be considered that it was the intimacy with nature that was imperative to the realization of Wordsworth's goals set forth in the "Preface" to Lyrical Ballads....   [tags: Tintern Abbey Essays] 916 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Analysis of Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth Essay - Analysis of Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth William Wordsworth existed in a time when society and its functions were beginning to rapidly pick up. The poem that he 'Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye', gave him a chance to reflect upon his quick paced life by taking a moment to slow down and absorb the beauty of nature that allows one to 'see into the life of things'; (line 49). Wordsworth's 'Tintern Abbey'; takes you on a series of emotional states by trying to sway 'readers and himself, that the loss of innocence and intensity over time is compensated by an accumulation of knowledge and insight.'; Wordsworth accomplishes to prove that althoug...   [tags: Tintern Abbey William Wordsworth Poems Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1039 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Analysis of William Wordsworth's Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey - Analysis of William Wordsworth's Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey William Wordsworth poem 'Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey'; was included as the last item in his Lyrical Ballads. The general meaning of the poem relates to his having lost the inspiration nature provided him in childhood. Nature seems to have made Wordsworth human.The significance of the abbey is Wordsworth's love of nature. Tintern Abbey representes a safe haven for Wordsworth that perhaps symbolizes a everlasting connection that man will share with it's surroundings....   [tags: tintern abbey poetry wordsworth]
:: 1 Works Cited
1061 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
William Wordsworth's Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey Essay - William Wordsworth's "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" Whereas most individuals tend to see nature as a playhouse that should alter and self-destruct to their every need, William Wordsworth had a very different view. Wordsworth perceived nature as a sanctuary where his views of life, love, and his creator were eventually altered forever. The intensity of Wordsworth's passion for nature elevated him from a boy into the inspiring man and poet in which he is recognized to be today....   [tags: William Wordsworth Tintern Abbey Essays]
:: 9 Works Cited
2727 words
(7.8 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Essay on The Sublime in Tintern Abbey - The Sublime in "Tintern Abbey" Lifting from Longinus, Burke, and Kant -- authors whose works Wordsworth would have read or known, perhaps indirectly, through Coleridge -- I want to look at how our reading of this nuanced term is necessarily problematic and difficult to pin down. Is the sublime a stylistic convention of visual representation. Is it a literary trope. Is it a verbal ruse. Or is the sublime a conceptual category defying, or at least interrogating the validity of verbal representation....   [tags: Poetry William Wordsworth]
:: 4 Works Cited
3270 words
(9.3 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Tintern Abbey: Summary Essay - Tintern Abbey: Summary William Wordsworth reflects on his return to the River Wye in his poem “Lines: Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour”. Having visited Wye five years prior, he is familiar with how enchanting the place is. He describes the natural wonders of the Wye, which travels past Tintern Abbey, a medieval abbey in the village of Tintern, which is in Monmouthshire, Wales. This Cistercian Abbey was founded by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow, on May 9, 1131....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]
:: 9 Works Cited
1763 words
(5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about Romanticism in Tintern Abbey and The Thorn - Tintern Abbey + The Thorn Romanticism is a core belief. It can be demonstrated in a complicated format, with themes and subjects that qualify a piece of writing as ‘Romantic’, however in the context of Romantic writing, Romanticism is indefinable by those who wrote it. A set of beliefs and literary practices nonetheless, however the main Ideas of tranquility, beauty in nature and humanity cannot be classified. As Wordsworth states ‘We Kill to Dissect’ the same can be said with his poetry. To be given a list of Neo-Classic tendencies, and then a subsequent one with its opposites, and then to call that ‘Romantic’ is, I don’t believe, the principal of Romantic writing in its context....   [tags: William Wordsworth] 1959 words
(5.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Ode to the West Wind by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey by Wordsworth - "Ode to the West Wind" by Percy Bysshe Shelley and "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" by Wordsworth The two chosen pieces both have a dominant theme of nature. Shelley, in his poem 'Ode to the West Wind,'; uses poignant tone, while using personification and imagery to unravel his theme of nature. While Wordsworth's '...Tintern Abbey'; contains a governing theme of nature, Wordsworth uses first person narration, illusive imagery, as well as an amiable tone to avow his connection to nature....   [tags: Shelley Wordsworth Ode Tintern Essays] 705 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Critical Analysis of Tintern Abbey Essay - Wordsworth renews traditional themes through the device of characterisation. In Lyttelton's "Lucinda", his female character Lucinda "simply completes a definition of the good life, whereas Wordsworth's Dorothy offers a link with the past." The presence of a loved companion is linked to the stability and love that the poet feels for nature. "However, where Cowper is quiet in his sincerity, Wordsworth is much more earnest in his plea for Dorothy." Renewal for Wordsworth means a renewal of passionate emotions and a strong sense of loyalty to the landscape, as seen in his poem Tintern Abbey....   [tags: Poetry Analysis] 279 words
(0.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Abrams and Tintern Abbey Essay - Abrams and Tintern Abbey In his essay, "Structure and Style in the Greater Romantic Lyric," critic M.H.Abrams describes a paradigm for the longer Romantic lyric of which Wordsworth's "Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey" is an example. First, some of the poems are either identified as odes in the title, or, as Abrams states "approach the ode in having lyric magnitude and a serious subject, feelingfully meditated." (201) The narrator of "Tintern Abbey" expresses deep sensations as he views a landscape familiar from his youth, the emotions and memories evoked lead to wider moral and philosophical cogitations....   [tags: Essays Papers] 1349 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]



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



Return to 123HelpMe.com