On the Threshold: Wordsworth’s Architectonics of the Absolute



It is time to enter the temple. In the middle of Wordsworth’s large, narrative poem The Excursion, which again was to stand at the middle of his even more encompassing poem called The Recluse, one reads: ‘As chanced, the portals of the sacred Pile/Stood open; and we entered’ (V, 138–9).1 Chance is kind to the figures of the Solitary, the Wanderer and the Poet, and they can stride straight into the church. There is no pausing at the threshold, no description of the façade, not even a fascination for the tympanum: the church is simply open, ‘and we entered’. As in much of Wordsworth’s poetry, the swift and matter-of-fact nature of this entrance is beguilingly direct. Yet it is an entrance, there is a threshold to pass, in the form of a portal, and both the passage and the border leave their trace in the text, even if it is only through a most innocuous and brief mention.


Shared Song Gothic Cathedral Medieval Church Imagery Nature Sacred Ground 
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Copyright information

© Charles I. Armstrong 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BergenNorway

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