A Lacanian Study of Motherhood in the Poems of William Wordsworth Essay

A Lacanian Study of Motherhood in the Poems of William Wordsworth Essay

Length: 1983 words (5.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

William Wordsworth was a prolific poet of the Romantic movement, perhaps best known for publishing Lyrical Ballads with friend and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1798. These poems were written in what Wordsworth described as a ‘common tongue’ with a focus on themes often found in Romantic poetry, such as the pastoral, the mythical, fragmentation, heroism and satire. In Lyrical Ballads one recurring subject almost unique to Wordsworth in its passion and persistence is that of motherhood. The connection between womanhood and nature make it a frequently explored theme for many poets, such as Blake in his Songs of Innocence. However, I have chosen to focus on Wordsworth since motherhood is not only examined at great length in his poetry, but also because biographical details of his own life make analysis of his works concerning the topic all the more significant, since he had lost his own mother at the age of eight.

For a topic such as motherhood, one school of critical thought likely to provide interesting observations is that of psychoanalysis. I have chosen to focus on Jacques Lacan for this essay since his theories have a greater emphasis on the use and formation of language in the individual than other key figures in his field, such as Jung or Freud. Lacan believed that when we examine literature, we do not merely analyse the characters of a text, but also the text itself as an effect of the linguistic wordplay of the unconscious. For this reason I feel that Lacan is particularly well suited to the discussion of poetry. In this essay I shall be making reference to Lacan’s analysis of The Three Orders and his account of The Mirror Stage in relation to the ego.

For Lacan, the Mirror Stage is not ...


... middle of paper ...


...ressing or painful situations, although we may have forgotten of origins of the compulsion. In the symbolic realm we also begin our unending search for Objet (petit) a, the lost object that must constantly be sought in order, we feel, to complete us: an unobtainable other. For Wordsworth, this Objet (petit) a appears to be the mother figure and his compulsion is to write about her from every perspective.





Works Cited

Bennett, Andrew, and Nicholas Royle. An introduction to literature, criticism and theory 4. ed. Harlow: Pearson Longman, 2009.

Leitch, Vincent B. "Jacques Lacan." In The Norton anthology of theory and criticism. New York: Norton, 2001.

Wilden, Anthony. System and structure: essays in communication and exchange. 2nd ed. London: Tavistock, 1980.

Wu, Duncan. "Lyrical Ballads." In Romanticism: an anthology. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1994.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Sonnets and Poems of Wordsworth and Milton Essay

- Sonnets and Poems of Wordsworth and Milton Sonnets are poems that have fourteen lines that usually have a recognized rhyming scheme. A sonnet generally has two sections; with the first section normally having eight lines and the second section having six. The rhythm in each line of the sonnet can also apply with sonnet traditions and the syllables (which is counted in feet) can define which tradition it is - French, Italian or English. Sonnets were commonly written in the sixteenth to eighteenth century and often written to express emotions of happiness, sadness, and love or written for someone in particular by request....   [tags: Papers]

Term Papers
1178 words (3.4 pages)

William Wordsworth Essay

- William Wordsworth William Wordsworth was born April 7, 1770, at Cockermouth in Cumberland, England. His poetry, and especially his poems on solitude, must have been heavily influenced by the death of his mother and the splitting up of his family when he was only eight (Kilvert 1). At that time, fate sent him to live in Hawkshead, England, where his teacher started him writing poetry. Wordsworth got his higher education at Cambridge, his memories of which play a part in his later poetry (Noyes 201)....   [tags: Poet Poetry Wordsworth Papers]

Term Papers
1186 words (3.4 pages)

Critical Analysis of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge Essay

- Critical Analysis of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge spearheaded a philosophical writing movement in England in the late 18th and early 19th century. Although Wordsworth and S.T. Coleridge are often considered the fathers of the English Romantic movement, their collective theologies and philosophies were often criticized but rarely taken serious by the pair of writers due to their illustrious prestige as poets. The combined effort in the Lyrical Ballads catapulted their names into the mainstream of writers in 1798 and with this work; they solidified their place in English literature....   [tags: essays research wordsworth coleridge papers]

Term Papers
2505 words (7.2 pages)

Arnold's Dover Beach and Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey Essay example

- A reflection on Arnold's "Dover Beach" and Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey" Poetry that establishes its raison d'être as linguistic play is, for Wordsworth, "a matter of amusement and idle pleasure…as if it were a thing as indifferent as a taste for rope-dancing, or frontiniac or sherry" (Preface 250). Wordsworth condemns poets whose efforts contribute mainly in celebrating formal experimentation; he discriminates against poetry that has recourse to what he calls a "superlatively contemptible" (265) language....   [tags: poetry william wordsworth matthew arnold]

Term Papers
1868 words (5.3 pages)

Comparing John Constable's Painting The Cornfield and William Wordsworth's Poem Tintern Abbey

- Representations of Time: Wordsworth and Constable I do not know how without being culpably particular I can give my Reader a more exact notion of the style in which I wished these poems to be written, than by informing him that I have at all times endeavored to look steadily at my subject; consequently, I hope that there is in these Poems little falsehood of description, and my ideas are expressed in language fitted to their respective importance. Something I must have gained by this practice, as it is friendly to one property of all good poetry, namely, good sense; but it has necessarily cut me off from a large portion of phrases and figures of speech which from father to son have long...   [tags: Wordsworth Constable Art Poetry Painting]

Term Papers
1607 words (4.6 pages)

William Wordsworth's Poetry Essay

- Poetry is one of the hardest, but most important literary techniques that has only been mastered by few authors. One of the best poets is William Wordsworth who relied upon lyric poetry, made history. However, many people have debated what the purpose of his writing was. For every author, there is a calling. For John Milton, it was to please God. For Edgar Allan Poe, it was to escape from reality. Yet, literary critic Harold Bloom describes what he believed was Wordsworth’s purpose: “The fear of mortality haunts much of Wordsworth’s best poetry, especially in regard to the premature mortality of the Imagination and the loss of its creative joy.” In other words, he felt like he...   [tags: literary analysis, poetry]

Term Papers
1071 words (3.1 pages)

William Wordsworth Walking: Art, Work, Leisure, and a Curious Form of Consumption

- William Wordsworth Walking: Art, Work, Leisure, and a Curious Form of Consumption William Wordsworth spent a good portion of his life on foot, walking. Consider a sequence of Dorothy's journal entries: Monday the 14th, "Wm & Mary walked to Ambleside in the morning to buy mousetraps" (about 5 miles round trip); Tuesday the 15th, "Wm & I walked to Rydale for letters" (about 3 miles round trip); Wednesday the 16th, "After dinner Wm & I walked twice up to the Swan & back again" (3 miles), met Miss Simpson and walked with her to the Oliffs and then back to her house (another 3 miles); Thursday the 17th, "we had a delightful walk" (a couple of miles); Friday the 18th, "Mary & Wm walk...   [tags: William Wordswroth Walking Essays]

Free Essays
1916 words (5.5 pages)

Pioneers of Imagery: William Wordsworth and John Constable Essay

- In any form of art, some of the most valuable skills to posses are a keen eye to detail and a great sense of accurate depiction. Whether it is a poem or a painting, throughout (art) history audiences have witnessed various talents that show strength in description and depiction, either through words on paper, or a brush on canvas. Two pioneers of such imagery, although showing diverse types of projects, are William Wordsworth and John Constable. Wordsworth, a famous poet known for many popular poems during the romanticism era, shows the audience his beautifully descriptive wordplay no purer than that in his conversation-style poem known as “Tintern Abbey”....   [tags: john constable, nature]

Term Papers
997 words (2.8 pages)

William Wordsworth's Poetry Essays

- William Wordsworth's Poetry gThe greatest and in the end the most influential of the English Romanticsh ( Britannica 675 ). That is William Wordsworth. Wordsworth changed the style of English poetry. His poems are very well written and very beautiful. Many events that@took place in his life shaped Wordsworthfs poetic style. The most important of these@events was not one specific event at all, it was one that encompassed all of Wordsworthfs@life. The one aspect of his life that most shaped the poetry of William Wordsworth was@his love of nature....   [tags: Papers]

Term Papers
1120 words (3.2 pages)

Comparing R.S. Thomas and William Wordsworth Essay

- Comparing R.S. Thomas and William Wordsworth Two poets who wrote about similar subjects were R.S Thomas and William Wordsworth. Their poems were often based on scenic areas and human beings. The difference between the two poets was they had an entirely different view of the certain topics. This enabled them to have different styles of writing. R.S Thomas was a welsh vicar born in Cardiff in 1913. He studied theology at the University College of north Wales. He then followed on to study at St....   [tags: Papers]

Term Papers
2050 words (5.9 pages)