Theme of William Wordsworth as a Prophet in Tintern Abbey Essay

Theme of William Wordsworth as a Prophet in Tintern Abbey Essay

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Poet as Prophet

When I spoke last, I ended with the image of Wordsworth as a monk or priest-like figure zealously converting Dorothy and, by extension, the reader into a position within his vision of the world. But even more than priest, Wordsworth often depicts the romantic poet as prophet. This depiction is demonstrated more clearly in "The Prospectus to the Recluse" than in "Tintern Abbey." In the 1814 version of the "Prospectus" he writes:

Paradise, and groves
Elysian, Fortunate Fields -- like those of old
Sought in the Atlantic Main -- why should they be
A history only of departed things,
Or a mere fiction of what never was?
For the discerning intellect of Man,
When wedded to this goodly universe
In love and holy passion, shall find these
A simple produce of the common day. (47-55)

Similar to his vision in "Tintern" where perceptions are both half created by the imagination and half perceived by the senses, here Wordsworth declares that for those who recognize its power, the human mind, or imagination, can meld with nature, can heal the split between nature and mankind, the sublime and the beautiful, to re-create an edenic heaven on Earth.

Wordsworth then goes on to assert:

-- I, long before the blissful hour arrives,
Would chant, in lonely peace, the spousal verse
Of this great consummation -- and by words
Which speak of nothing more than what we are,
Would arouse the sensual from their sleep
Of Death, and win the vacant and the vain
To noble raptures (56 - 62)

Wordsworth, as the romantic poet-prophet, has a preview of ...


... middle of paper ...


...e romantic era ends with the sublimated subject removed from any experience outside that reflected by the romantic centre -- an ironically alienating end to a movement that began in an attempt to unite with the universe.

Bibliography

Abrams, M.H, General Ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 4th ed. Vol. 2. New York: Norton and Company, 1979.

Althusser, Louis. "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses." Lenin and Philosophy and other essays. Translated from the French by Ben Brewster. London: New Left Books, 1971. 121-173.

Wordsworth, William. "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey." Abrams, Gen. Ed. 155-158.

---. Preface to Lyrical Ballads." Abrams, Gen. Ed. 160-175.

---. "Prospectus to The Recluse." Abrams, Gen. Ed. 227-230.

---. The Prelude, or Growth of a Poet's Mind. Abrams, Gen. Ed. 257-313.

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