In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. (ll. 19-24)
Wordsworth’s famous and simple poem, “I wandered lonely as a cloud,” expresses the Romantic Age’s appreciation for the beauty and truth that can be found in a setting as ordinary as a field of daffodils. With this final stanza, Wordsworth writes of the mind’s ability to carry those memories of nature’s beauty into any setting, whether city or country. His belief in the power of the imagination and the effect it can have on nature, and vice a versa, is evident in most of his work. This small portion of his writing helps to illuminate a major theme of the Romantic poets, and can even be seen in contemporary writings of today. One such work is Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. This story follows two characters, Inman and Ada, who barely know each other and are forced apart by the Civil War. As Ada waits in North Carolina Appalachia for Inman to return home from three years of battle, Inman decides to abandon the war effort and journey across the Southern states to reach his beloved.
Although this may seem like a simple love story, the changes each lover goes through in their journey of survival and love shows the romantic ideals of the beauty of nature and appreciation for the present time and reality. Frazier uses several themes prominent in the Romantic Age, significantly by the poets Wordsworth, Keats, and Coleridge, in order to show the power of the human imagination in extraordinary situations and everyday living as well. Inman and Ada each learn through their diffe...
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Edgecombe, Rodney Stenning. “Wordsworth’s ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud.” ANQ. 16 (2003): 23-27.
Frazier, Charles. Cold Mountain. New York: Vintage, 1998.
Gifford, Terry. “Terrain, Character and Text: Is Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier a Post- Pastoral Novel?” Mississippi Quarterly. 25 (2001):87-96).
Heddendorf, David. “Closing the Distance to Cold Mountain.” Southern Review. 36 (2000): 188-9.
Inscoe, John C. “Cold Mountain: Appalachian Odysseus.” Appalachian Journal. 25 (1998): 330-337.
Schoemaker, Jacqueline. “Travel, Homecoming and Wavering Minds in Lyrical Ballads and other Poems.” 'A Natural Delineation of Human Passions': The Historic Moment of Lyrical Ballads. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004.
Wordsworth, William. “The Prelude: Book Fifth.” Abrams 341-2.
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