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William Wordsworth

Lecture Outline
1.Appreciation: I wondered lonely as a cloud.

She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways 2.Summary of Wordsworths poetics 3.Romanticism and Lake Poets 4.Wordsworths literary position 5. Criticism on William Wordsworth

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (To Daffodils)


I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high oer vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils: Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud


Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud


The waves beside them danced; but they Outdid the sparkling waves in glee; A poet could not but be gay; In such a jocund company; I gazed-and gazed-but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought:

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud


For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.

Questions for Discussion


1. What is your general impression on this 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

poem? What does the image of cloud suggest to you? What has cheered the poet up? What has the poet meditated from what he has described? And the theme? Do you think that nature can have the healing effect on mind? Pay attention to the tense used in this poem. What does it indicate?

Question 1
What is your general impression on this

poem?

Question 2
What does the image of cloud suggest to

you?

Loneliness, isolation, solitude, aimlessness, aloofness I wandered lonely as a cloud---loneliness That floats on---aimlessness High over vales and hills---solitude, isolation

Cloud represents the feelings of the speaker (the poet) essentially.

Question 3
What has cheered the poet up? And

how?

a host of golden daffodils, fluttering, dancing and glittering daffodils Shine and twinkle as the stars Stretched endlessly The cloud-like poet is deeply attracted by the beauty of the nature and turns to be highspirited, instead of being lonely any more.

Question 4
What has the poet meditated from what

he has described? And the theme?


In loneliness or in low spirit, the recollection of

the nature beauty brings him the bliss and pleasure in his heart.
Therefore the idea of going back to nature

is advocated and clearly expressed in this poem.

Question 5
Do you think that nature can have the

healing effect on mind?

Question 6
Pay attention to the tense used in this

poem. What does it indicate?

past tense the recollection of the past experience will

arouse a new sense of the old memories

what wealth the show to me had brought the bliss of solitude/ flash upon that inward eye

Quotes

Poetry takes its origin from emotion recollections in tranquility tranquil contemplation of an emotional experience matures the feeling and sensation, and makes possible the creation of good poetry like the mellow of old wine.
----- William Wordsworth

Summary of the poem


What does the poem impress you most?
Use of image Vivid description of nature Daily language

She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways

never be stepped on live She dwelt among the untrodden ways

Beside the springs of Dove,


A maid whom there were none to praise

And very few to love

She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways


A violet by a mossy tone Half hidden from the eye! ---Fair as a star, when only one Is shining in the sky.

She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways

She lived unknown, and few could know died When Lucy ceased to be; But she is in her grave, and, oh, The difference to me!

Questions for Discussion


1. What are the three stanzas about?

2. Whats significance of the girl to the

speaker I? 3. If we omit the second stanza, what has left in the poem? Whats the function of the second stanza? 4. Why does the speaker compare Lucy to a violet, not a rose? 5. Do you think the image of star is contradictory to the image of violet?

Question 1
What are the three stanzas about?
In

memory of a country-girl named Lucy An elegy : a lyric poem lamenting the death of a friend or public figure, or reflecting seriously on a solemn subject ------Oxford Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms

Question 2
Whats significance of the girl to the

speaker I? How do you know?


Lucy

lived unknown and few to love She is important and her death is a great shock to me. A violet, fair as a star shining in the sky When she ceased to me,/ the difference to me

Question 3
If we omit the second stanza, what has left in the poem?
She dwelt among the untrodden ways Beside the springs of Dove, Maid whom there were none to praise And very few to love:

She lived unknown, and few could know When Lucy ceased to be; But she is in her grave, and, oh, The difference to me!

Narration left; in regular rhyme scheme: abab cdcd Lucy lived remote from the world, and her death passed unnoticed. Yet, Lucys passing made no difference to the world, it has made all the difference to her lover.

Question 3
Whats the function of the second

stanza?
Core

stanza Lyric by using two dominant images 1) Violet half hidden 2) Star shining in the sky

Question 4
Why does the speaker compare Lucy to a

violet, not a rose?

The rose will not do to supply a vague enhancement to Lucy. Lucys natural charm, like that of the violet, was derived from her modesty. She, too, was half-hidden from the eye, obscure and unnoticed.

Question 5
The prominence of the star suggests Venus as

evening star, normally the first star to shine forth after the sunset. Do you think the image of star is contradictory to the image of violet?

Paradoxical? Violet-Lucy: obscure, modest to the world Star-Lucy: bright and unmatched to the eye of her lover: no contradiction!

Episode Summary
We notice that the imagery is not something

additional---merely decorative. If poetry does bring together idea and emotion, rendering an experience dramatically in concrete terms, then stanza 2 of the poem is the core---the very heart---of the poem.

Wordsworths poetry
What are the main features of Wordsworths

poetry?
back

to nature deep love of nature appeal to individual sensations attention to humble folk of rural life simplicity and purity in language

Wordsworths Poetics 1
Definition: A good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. Function of poetry: The function of poetry lies in its power to give an unexpected splendor to familiar and commonplace things.

Wordsworths Poetics 2
Subject of matter: ordinary peasants, children, ever outcasts, all may be used as subjects in poetical creation. (common people) On language: real language of men

Comparison between Wordsworth and Popes poetics


William Wordsworth Alexander Pope

Poetry definition Overflow of powerful Lacked lyric gift feelings Skills in versification in heroic couple
Function of poetry Unexpected splendor Didactic to familiar things Satiric

Subject matter
language

Nature and humble people

Upper class of city life

Simple words in daily Smooth, balanced and language concise in elegant diction

Popes famous lines


I corrected because it was as pleasant to me to

correct as to write. What oft was thought, but never so well expressed. To err is human, to forgive, divine. For fools rush in where angles fear to tread. Hope springs eternal in human breast. A little learning is a dangerous thing. The proper study of mankind is man.

Wordsworths other works


Short lyrics:

Lines Written in Early Spring


To the Cuckoo My Heart Leaps up

The Solitary Reaper


We are Seven Lucy Poems

Lines Composed a Few Miles above

Tintern Abbey

Wordsworths main works

1) 2)

3)
4)

Long narrative poem Prelude Autobiographic Philosophic Expression of his poetics on imagination In blank verse

William Wordsworths Literary Position


A leader of English

Romanticism A lake poet Poet of nature

English Romanticism
Time:
It

prevailed in England during the period 17981832;

Beginning:

Lyrical Ballads in 1798 End: death of Walter Scott in 1832

English Romanticism
Main features:

Imagination

Imagination is the supreme faculty of the mind. Imagination can change and create. Imagination can unify different elements into a complex whole. Suggested poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge

English Romanticism
Idealization of Nature

Nature has a healing power. Nature is a source of subject and image. Nature is a refuge from the artificial constructs of civilization. "that Nature never did betray the heart that loved her." ---Wordsworth Suggest poem Wordsworths Tintern Abbey

English Romanticism
Individualism

Man is the center of all concern. Romanticists emphasized the dignify of man and the importance of the present life. Man is an individual in a solitary state. Romanticists valued the exploration and evaluation of the inner self. Suggest poem: George Byrons Childe Harolds Pilgrimage

Quote
I am not made like anyone I have seen; I dare believe that I am not made like anyone in existence. If I am not superior, at least I am different. ------Jean Jacques Rousseau (: --)

English Romanticism
Glorification of the commonplace

materials: the natural, the commonplace, the simple common incidents and situations natural diction and language Suggested poem: The Solitary Reaper by Wordsworth

English Romanticism
The lure of the exotic

Wordsworth and Coleridge: lived by the riverside Byron and Shelly: self-imposed exile expanded the imaginary horizons spatially and chronologically ---the middle ages ---the distant places allow free play to the supernatural Suggested poem: Coleridges Kubla Khan

English Romanticism
Representatives: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley,

Byron and Keats

English Romanticism

William Wordsworths Contemporizes The Lake Poets


The Lake Poets:

William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge Robert Southey

They lived in the Lake

District in the northwestern part of England. They traversed the same path in politics and in poetry, beginning as radicals and ending up as conservatives.

Lake District

Lake District

Wordsworths birthplace in Cockermouth, Cumberland

Grasmere in Lake District and Dove Cottage

Dove Cottage

Old Residence of William Wordsworth in Rydal Mount

William Wordsworths Change


From 1787-91, aroused by the French Revolution In 1790-92, twice visited France In 1973, disheartened by the outbreak of hostilities between

France and Britain. The rise of Napoleon (1799-1814): France invaded other Europeans countries, revealing the desire for Empire instead of desire of liberty. He gave up his former political enthusiasm and turned to be conservative in politics. He retired to the northern lake district and lived in seclusion for a full half century. He was made poet laureate in 1843. He died in 1850 at the age of 80.

Gravestone of Wordsworth, Grasmere

Criticism on William Wordsworth


In honored poverty thy voice did weave Songs consecrate to truth and liberty

Deserting these, thou leavest me to grieve,


Thus having been, that thou shouldest cease to be.
-------by Percy Shelley

Nearly all Wordsworths good poetry

was written during the first decade of his literary career (1798-1807), when he still kept his early, political enthusiasm or at least retained some contact with the real life of his time.

Passive Romanticists ?
elder generation:

Coleridge and Wordsworth Younger generation: Byron and Shelley

Comparison between Wordsworth and Tao Qian


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Homework for next lecture


Appreciate the poem The Isles of Greece by Byron

and try to answer the following questions: 1 ) What kind of feeling does Byron express in the poem? 2) What are the artistic features of the poem? 3) What is Byronic hero? 4) What is ottava rima? 5) to State Byrons literary achievement. 6) to Compare Byron with Wordsworth and then state the differences between the elder and younger generation of English Romanticists.