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EN 1006 Lecture Notes - Absolution, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads

Course Code
EN 1006
Alison Halsall

of 3
February 12th 2009
More on Romanticism Nature and the Apocalypse
Tourism in Romantic Poetry: Wordsworth as a “worshipper of Nature”
The Romantic Apocalypse
- Used to see the wonder of children
- Blessing of Nature, which offers an absolution
Recap: Characteristics of Romantic Poetry
Nostalgia for childhood
- Child idealized vs. Corrupt adulthood
Rural life vs. urban civilization
New approach to form
Poetry registers harsh extremes of emotion
Uses language of the “common folk”
William Blake (1757-1827)
1788, experimented with “illuminated printing” (similar to illuminated manuscripts of Middle
Books were hand-pressed, hand- coloured, hand- stitched = labour intensive
Poems communicate on a literal and visual level
- His language is different form poets in the 18th century
- Little conformity among the romantic poets
Tourism in Romantic Poetry
Lines (Notron pg. 1491) Tintern Abbey
- about memory, about recollection, idealization, natural visionary beauty, that it is alive in
some way
William Wordswoth (1770-1850)
From Lake District in England
First edition of Lyrical Ballads (1798) produced with Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Poems in Lyrical Ballads groundbreaking:
- Broke away from Classical verse
- Emphasis on people, events, speech of common life
Tintern Abbey: nature:, time, mortality, memory, imagination, society, city, humanity, God
- Poem celebrates growth and is aware of death, both optimistic and not
- The speaker has returned to Tintern Abbey, 5 years later on July 13th 1878
Grand Tour : A journey through Europe, during which sons of aristocracy enriched their knowledge of
the classical past and developed the socially desirable skills of a young, aristocratic man.
Wordswoth’s Tintern Abbey
Blank verse
Memory: “picture of the mind:
Fascination with nature
- Emotional and spiritual support that nature provides
- Appreciation of humble aspects (hermit)
- Nature as providing consolation
“Fretful stir” of world vs. peace, quiet of abbey
Nature offers moments of sublime perception
- The Abbey reminds the speaker of divine happiness and rest
- Such memories allow him to see into the life of thing
- His sister Dorothy is much younger than he is, she can still experience dizzy highs because
she is still young
- The speaker hopes his sister with think of his poem years later
- He reminds her that the landscape would be more dear to them if he died
Blank Verse: Verse without rhyme
The Romantic Apocalypse
Late 18th century age of apocalyptic expectation
- American Revolution
- French Revolution
Invested current political events with myth of apocalypse (idea that existing world order
will be replaced by a new and perfected condition of the world)
Byron’s “Darkness” (1816)
Disenchantment with the times
Questioning of faith in a loving God
Use of hellish biblical language to convey apocalyptic landscape
Use of blank verse to capture horrors of end of life on earth