english lecture (wordsworth and keats) november 16, 2010
Wordsworth “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge…”
Keats “When I have fears…”
- Picture of Neoclassical Building and Neo-gothic Building
Cogito Ergo Sum (Rene Descartes, Cartesranism)
Kantian Revolution (Immanuel Kant)
Picture, but described:
Reason Will - King, Aristocracy
Passions/Appetites - Commoners
- The most important of human faculties was reason “Cogito Ergo Sum” = I think rationally,
therefore I am.
- Neoclassical architecture is based on balance and symmetry. Washington D.C; all the official
buildings are in the neoclassical style.
- p.1156 subsection one
- you can see how ordered Pope is just how he sets everything out.
- everything that looks chaotic in the world is all a design that’s put in place by God.
Everything is unfolding as it should.
- Noise is harmony that you can’t understand.
- Pope says ‘leave the status quo as it is’ don’t change anything, it’s perfect just the way
it is. Rational form with rational philosophy
- BUT what about capacity for innovation, imagination, adventure? Where’s the room to
be an individual?
- Romanticism emerges, shown in architecture (University College, not symmetrical at all)
- Huge shift politically from the idea of the King having divine right to the ideal of the American
Revolution 1776 - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Then The French Revolution -
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
- This is the time when Keats and Wordsworth were writing
- Kantian Revolution = the world is what we make of it, consistent with the Enlightenment.
- democratizing the imagination
- with capacity of imagination, everyone can replicate the act of Creation in their own way
of living. A shift away from reason
- No longer is Reason the faculty of control, it’s Imagination.
- Implications of this in Poetry
- Poetry isn’t premeditated or rational activity. It’s based in spontaneity and feelings
rather than reason. english lecture (wordsworth and keats) november 16, 2010
- The overall emphasis is on feelings, emotions, passions, moods, memories, enjoyment,
- Polar opposites of Reason, controlling the will and the appetites.
- Shift from conformity and custom to personal expression and freedom.
- Free choice of literary forms.
- Turning massively away from the Rational and the ordered to the Subjective and
Wordsworth “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”
- This poem is a strong, emotional, personal response to a particular place seen at a particular
- Rhyme Scheme: identifies this poem as a Petrarchan Sonnet. ABBA ABBA He’s reached
beyond Shakespeare to the earlier part of the Renaissance to pick the form for this poem
- Wordsworth doesn’t care if his rhymes don’t work exactly. The Romantics weren’t obsessed
with rhymes. If you couldn’t rhyme very well that was okay.
- Closed off octave.
- Sestet CD CD CD. A poem highly untraditional in 18th century terms. But traditional because it
reaches back before the 18th century.
- Wordsworth was traveling on the top of the coach and could see everything, looking east.
- He presents us with a series of images of London when it is least like itself but most like the
- He focuses on the beauty of London, not the dirt or pollution.
- “Nothing in the world compares with this” Individualistic statement. He is so confident. Only
“Birth has not anything to show more fair” notice that anything is the only word with two syllables
- Wordsworth condemns people who can’t respond to nature. It moves him, it affects him.
- Glittering - has Gl word. glimmer, glamour. So often found in words that suggest light.
- ‘smokeless air’ no indication of industrialism here. He’s describing the city when it’s least like