English 1022E Lecture Notes - Topographical Poetry, Blank Verse, Wax Tablet

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Published on 16 Nov 2011
english lecture november 18, 2010
William Wordsworth “Tintern Abbey”
On the Board:
Greater Romantic Lyric
Ode: Turn, Counter Turn, Stand
Wax Tablet (Aristotle)
Tabula Rasa (John Locke)
Blank Verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter)
Take and eat in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on Him in thy heart with
thanksgiving” - Anglican Communion Service
And I (Jesus) say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock shall I build my church, and
the gates of hell shall not prevail against us” - Matthew 16:18
-The chorus would deliver part of the speech, then go over to the other side of the stage, deliver
another part, go to the middle of the speech and deliver the final part (stand)
-Wordsworth presents an idea and argument, then counter turns and produces an idea to
counter it, then makes a stand based on the last two parts.
-Wordsworth’s adaptation of the ode is consistent with the ethos of romanticism which
surrounds it.
-This poem is also topographical poem. A poem that describes a particular place, time and from
a particular perspective
-Traditionally topographical poems were written in rhymed couplets. Wordsworth uses blank
verse: lines of iambic pentameter without rhymes
-So he took a form that was prevalent in his day and adapted it for his own uses
-A poem to Wordsworths response to the landscape of the wide river valley and sees how he’s
changed since the last time he saw it.
-“Here I Am Again poem. I was here, then I left for five years and now I’m back again”
Historical Context
-This poem was written in 1798. Wordsworth was 23. Extraordinary how someone so young
could write this.
-Wordsworth was trying to define what came to be called “Romanticism” trying to come up with
what romanticism is against what the age of reason was.
-He’s trying to establish the value of moods, emotions, feelings, imagination.
-Trying to show that subjectivity is more important than objectivity. He’s trying to show that the
imagination is more powerful than rationality.
-Also trying to do nothing less than articulate a new relationship between humans and their
mental/physical/spiritual lives, and the world around them. The natural world but also the culture
surrounding them. He’s trying to come up with a whole new way of thinking and understanding
-He enacts/stages the rejection of rationalism and the emergence of the attitutes we associate
with Romanticism
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