Wordsworth and Coleridge: Emotion, Imagination and Complexity
The antagonism is especially marked in the case of Wordsworth and about the relationship: "[Wordsworth] can get Coleridge to talk over his. Frances Wilson reviews The Friendship: Wordsworth and Coleridge by as rebounding into the new friendship: his relationship with the poet. vision. A study of this friendship highlights how momentary the suspension of Wordsworth's relationship with Annette Vallon in Wordsworth scholarship to date.
Wordsworth asserts that poetry is the language of the common man: To this knowledge which all men carry about with them, and to these sympathies in which without any other discipline than that of our daily life we are fitted to take delight, the poet principally directs his attention. Wordsworth eschews the use of lofty, poetic diction, which in his mind is not related to the language of real life. He sees poetry as acting like Nature, which touches all living things and inspires and delights them.
Wordsworth calls for poetry to be written in the language of the "common man," and the subjects of the poems should also be accessible to all individuals regardless of class or position. Wordsworth also makes the points that "poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: These two points form the basis for Wordsworth's explanation of the process of writing poetry. First, some experience triggers a transcendent moment, an instance of the sublime. The senses are overwhelmed by this experience; the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" leaves an individual incapable of articulating the true nature and beauty of the event.
It is only when this emotion is "recollected in tranquility" that the poet can assemble words to do the instance justice. It is necessary for the poet to have a certain personal distance from the event or experience being described that he can compose a poem that conveys to the reader the same experience of sublimity.
With this distance the poet can reconstruct the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" the experience caused within himself. Wordsworth's critical ideas are manifested in his writing. He uses the language and subjects of the common man to convey his ideas. These lines show that Wordsworth places little stock in the benefit of education or institutionalized wisdom. He implies that any person with exposure to Nature can learn the secrets of the world, regardless of social or economic considerations.
In "I wandered lonely as a cloud," Wordsworth uses the sonnet form to express his ideas about poetry being the spontaneous overflow of emotion recollected in tranquility: For oft when on my couch I lie In vacant or 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.
In the poem he meditates on the stars and the light bouncing off waves on the water. He is unable to truly comprehend the beauty and importance of the experience until he is resting afterward, and he is able to reconstruct the event in his mind.
This remembrance brings him a wave of emotion, and it is out of this second flood of feeling that the poem is born. In Wordsworth's poetry, these ebbs of emotion are spurred on by his interaction with Nature. Indeed, Wordsworth is continually inspired and led into transcendent moments by his experiences in Nature. These experiences bring to his mind a wide variety of contemplations and considerations that can only be expressed, as he writes in "Expostulation and Reply," in "a wise passiveness" While Wordsworth's critical ideas obviously worked for his poetry, Coleridge differed in his take on the art.
Coleridge did not agree that poetry is the language of the common man. He thought that lowering diction and content simply made it so that the poet had a smaller vocabulary of both words and concepts to draw from. Coleridge focused mainly on imagination as the key to poetry. He divided imagination into two main components: In Biographia Literaria, one of his significant theoretical works, he writes: The primary imagination I hold to be the living power and prime agent of all human perception, and as a repetition in the finite of the eternal act of creation of the infinite I AM.
When Coleridge met Wordsworth
Even while they were alive, Wordsworth and Coleridge were the equivalent of one of those 'love him, hate her' couples, and years later they continue to divide their readers into opposing camps, those for the slow-burning, single-minded, self-obsessed Wordsworth and those for Coleridge, in all his chaos, mysticism and meteoric brilliance.
Their friendship, formed in the revolutionary s when 'to be young was very heaven', would change the face of English poetry; its fall-out 15 years later makes you want to turn back time to knock their two great heads together. The pair had met briefly in Bristol already but their alliance was sealed in June when Coleridge burst in upon the peaceful world of Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy. Working in the garden outside their Dorset home, the Wordsworths never forgot how they looked up to see a figure leaving the road, leaping the gate and hurtling through the corn towards them.
Coleridge was not bounding so much as rebounding into the new friendship: Wordsworth was not only the right size, he was stable enough to anchor the 'mastless and rudderless' Coleridge.
He was also, so Coleridge believed, a good enough bard to take on the job he had until now set aside for himself: Wordsworth, who struggled to achieve this aim for the rest of his life, was flattered and the impossible terms of the friendship were set. What happened next has become the stuff of literary legend.
As they wandered over the Quantock Hills, the two men conceived of the Lyrical Ballads, a collection of poems, most of which were neither ballads nor lyrical, which would radically challenge the diet of jaded and ornate verse which was dulling the palates of the English reading public.
However, "The following Generations All are interminable, all are useless. If we miss things out on the grounds that they are unimportant, or because we have not space to include them, or because they do not fit the story we are trying to tell, then all we do is conceal our prejudices.
When Coleridge met Wordsworth - Telegraph
In Middlemarch, George Eliot wrote about the normally selfish individual seeing him or herself as a "supreme self", around whose life and actions the rest of the world apparently falls into place so that, in her brilliant image, scratches made wholly at random on a mirror fall into concentric circles around a central source of illumination. She was, in effect, describing the technique of modern scholarly biography and nearly all popular biography, which remains stubbornly 19th century in its hero-or heroine worshipping concentration on the life of an individual.
Lip service only is paid to the fact that the biographical subject was always the member of surrounding and overlapping groups of people, alive and dead. Modern biography at times seems to have learned almost nothing from history, sociology or even psychology, all of which constantly stress the impossibility of telling any kind of truth about individuals divorced from the impingeing lives and histories of other individuals.
We write biographies of individuals as islands: Scholarly biography of Wordsworth and Coleridge has been bedevilled by a need to concentrate defensively upon the person about whom the biography is being written.
Actions are interrupted, justified, explained and explained away from the point of view of the central figure: The practice of elevating one figure over the other has dominated Coleridge and Wordsworth biography for decades; to some extent because the very closeness of the two writers was later wrecked by savage disagreement. In his two-volume biography of Coleridge, Early Visions and Darker Reflections Flamingo,Richard Holmes, a passionate defender of Coleridge, locates the poet's "emergent feelings of rivalry with Wordsworth" to autumnand gives an account of how Coleridge's poem Christabel came to be excluded from the second edition of Lyrical Ballads, which Coleridge and Wordsworth put together that year.
Molly Lefebure, in her Sarah Coleridge biography The Bondage of Lovealso savagely attacked Wordsworth for his "dismissal" of Coleridge as a poet, and concluded: Holmes describes how, at the end of OctoberColeridge experienced "a complete writing block", and - like Lefebure - links the block to the damage Coleridge suffered from the rejection of Christabel.
- The Poets' Daughters: Dora Wordsworth and Sara Coleridge by Katie Waldegrave – review
- Coleridge v Wordsworth: the truth
Lefebure goes further and states that Wordsworth's behaviour to Coleridge "contributed significantly to They all write from the point of view of defenders of Coleridge; and this makes them critical of Wordsworth. The evidence for all their statements are some remarks in Coleridge's correspondence, and Dorothy Wordsworth's journal, describing Coleridge's visit to Town End, the house rented by the Wordsworths in Grasmere.
The complete record of the visit in the journal is as follows: Coleridge came in while we were at dinner very wet. We talked till 12 o'clock - he had sat up all the night before wrting Essays for the newspaper the Morning Post. His youngest child [Derwent] had been very ill in convulsion fits Exceedingly delighted with the 2nd part of Christabel.