The Harmonic Conceit: Music, Nature and Mind in Wordsworth’s Prelude
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Phenomenology, as a theoretical framework applied to literature, has alerted us to the complex interrelation of reader and writer in the production, formation and reception of a text. My study of Wordsworth is here in the area of the poet’s own ideas about perception, and more importantly self-perception. The Prelude, Wordsworth’s long autobiographical poem, (I am working from the 1805 version) is itself a writing of the poet’s own life — a self-perception — though it is not traditional autobiography, in the sense of a linear rendering of experience and circumstance. Events are out of order, sometimes repeated, and experiences are conflated. There are aspects of the poet’s life curiously absent or reworked, confounding those readers past and present who expect a confessional autobiography like St. Augustine’s or Rousseau’s.
KeywordsUnify Force Musical Harmony Natural Harmony Musical Line Linear Rendering
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