By Elizabeth A. Fay
This leading edge publication explores the speculation that "Wordsworth the Poet" is an inventive projection within which either William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy collaborated, constructing a personality that the siblings strove to inhabit. simply because William used to be its crucial enactor, either publicly and privately, poetically and experimentally, his tendency was once to sublimate Dorothy into an audible yet invisible muse, situated simply at the back of him. Dorothy, besides the fact that, constantly imagined herself in a collaborative or twinned relation to William, even if he was once absent. She skilled the Wordsworthian function as more and more alienating, extra a classy functionality to be enacted at will, while William chanced on the position ever extra common and inseparable from himself.
This e-book explores the ways that the Wordsworths have been quite suited for increase their collaborative character, the literary fictions they drew on, and the worth they derived from the sort of concerted and utopian attempt. the writer bases her paintings on recognized Wordsworthian texts, in addition to little-read lyrics and essays of William and the relatively unknown oeuvre of Dorothy.
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Extra info for Becoming Wordsworthian: a performative aesthetics
We sate and chatted till 1/2-past three, W. in his dressing gown. Coleridge read us a part of Christabel. Talked much about the mountains, etc. . Losh's opinion of Southeythe first of poets. Grasmere Journals Geoffrey Hartman, to whom we always return to understand Wordsworth's verse, wrote of the "selfhood Wordsworth knew," its relation to Nature and the death of Nature, its relation to his special mission and the death of his mission (Hartman, 338). In just such a way, we know the self called Wordsworth through the eyes and sensibility of older critics whose judgment we trust: Coleridge, with his descriptions of masculine poethood; Mill, with his Wordsworthian curative for the sick soul; Arnold, with his cure for a Philistine culture.
In constructing his schematic map, Wordsworth became particularly good at adapting principles from different systems of thought to a larger conceptual structure in order to provide himself with the principles he needed to make sense of the world. Like his friend Coleridge, he had a synthetic imagination, but it was also an imagination that retained distinct ideas while making room for others by reworking the relations between them. From his childhood with and without Dorothy Wordsworth, William had come to think about his world according to the terms of sensibility and poetic melancholy, terms available to the heroic mode as well as the domestic for a construction of one's self in the world.
Marlon B. Ross, in The Contours of Masculine Desire (1989), and Anne K. Mellor, in Romanticism and Gender (1993), have asked such questions and cleared just such a space. Their work represents the debate between the possibilities of a "male" and a "female" literary romanticism, in which the determination of which one precedes and implicates the other is still very much in flux. Therein, however, we find the grounds to consider a halfway space in which both gender and literary gendering is interdeterminate, collaborative, and inconclusive.