Where darkness makes abode : Wordsworth's vocabularies of being
Robinson, Resina Jacoba
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William Wordsworth has been a controversial poet since the appearance of Lyrical Ballads in 1798. This joint volume with Samuel Taylor Coleridge embodied Wordsworth's revolutionary poetics not only in a new kind of poetry that dealt with ordinary rural people and that was written in what Wordsworth claimed was the "real language of men", but also explicated his literary theories in a Preface that truly set the cats of a radically new poetics amongst the literary pigeons. And the resultant flutter has still not subsided. Wordsworth's innovative influence manifested itself very notably on the field of language. This comprises the main field of enquiry of this dissertation. Chapter I speculates about the subtle and powerful linguistic and aesthetic impact of Wordsworth's language concomitant with his belief in and distrust of language and the power inherent in it. It explores Wordsworth's language not only as the medium of his poetry, but also as an explicit subject that he thought and speculated about in a serious and coherent manner. Chapter II attempts to define some of the many different voices that can be heard in Wordsworth's poetry and the 'language' that these different voices speak. It explores some of the voices that various critics identify and then ponders the two distinctive voices that I hear in Wordsworth's poetry. Chapter III looks at and analyses some of the many and fascinating practical aspects of Wordsworth's distinctive and highly individualised 'idiolect', most notably his use of repetition, word-clusters and his marked penchant for certain favourite words that recur throughout his oeuvre. What emerged most strongly from this study is that the key to Wordsworth's unique and challenging poetry lies in his equally unique and challenging language usage. This aspect of his work cannot be ignored or disregarded without seriously, indeed fatally, compromising the appreciation and interpretation of his poetry.
- Humanities