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1C06 Term 2: Day 5.docx

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McMaster University
Jeffery Donaldson

Day 5 January 23/2013 English 1C06 Romantic Poets The Pastoral Dialectic - Pastoral space is normally associated with a purity and innocence not found in the social centre - Leave the corrupt social space to enter into the presence of what revelations are available in the natural space beyond it - The “space apart” is thought to harbour energies or presences that we are not quiet enough to experience society. You go out into the “space beyond” and make yourself available to what may “speak to you there” - The stepping out away from a given or entrenched perspective into an alternative view. - * prophet figure passes between Experience and Innocence Pre-Romantic Axis Mundi God, Higher Power, the Heavens, the music of the spheres, an orderly and benign cosmos Powers Garden of Eden, a lost world or utopia; World we were meant for but don’t live in descending from above Society, the world as it is; nature as we know it in its regular cycles of birth and death, the turn of the seasons, etc. Savage Nature; the demonic world of death and hell and sin below nature Post-Romantic Axis Mundi Alienated world of oppressive power or authority; usually thought of as dead or mechanical; images of alien space, remote towers of industry, sky fathers, etc. Human civilization in both its positive and negative manifestations Powers An alternative preferred world; something subordinated, neglected, or underestimated in power ascending which is seen as excluded from thought but dangerous to ignore. Usually some aspect of nature from above that complements human nature, but may also be a part of human society with a similar complementary role A point of identity where human creation and imaginative power start, often symbolized as under the earth or sea, like Atlantis, or arising from unacknowledged depths within the individual himself Day 5 January 23/2013 Still the desire for an ascent: - But now with “God” in its various incarnations serving as a revolutionary force that breaks up from below or within - One goes “down” to find or release its (upward-breaking) redemptive powers - A la Marx’s proletariat, Darwin’s primates, Freud’s unconscious - Nature a storehouse of latent powers - Desire for a divinity or revolutionary power hidden within “the nature of things” From The Marriage of Heaven and Hell - The ancient poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged and numerous senses could perceive. And particularly they studied the Genius of each city and country, placing it under its mental deity. Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of and enslaved the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects. Thus began Priesthood. Historical Contexts - American Revolutions and French Revolutions (1776, 1789) o Rejection of top-down authority, monarchical rule, in favour of republics  State in which the form of government is founded on the body of citizens (1620) and its etymon classical Latin republics affairs of state, welfare of the state, public good, the state (especially with reference to Rome) o Reforms in England instituted to respond to similar revolutionary initiatives o Corresponding conceptions of nature, early and late  During optimistic stage of French Revolution: nature as an exuberant, uncontrollable force, identified with the citizenry itself  With the disillusionment that followed, Wordsworth and Coleridge begin to portray nature as a refuge, as a retreat from corrupted worldly and political concerns Wordsworth – “The Prelude” - Characteristic Features: o The ascent of the individual, poetics of the self, politically an appreciation of the plight of the individual o Poems about ordinary people in ordinary situations
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