Since the last chapter gave to epistemological concerns a foundation both in ontology and in the lyric, I’d now like to address that rubric, ‘ontology and the lyric,’ under a specifically aesthetic heading — the concept of beauty. This chapter, the book’s final one on Wordsworth directly, highlights two main issues not taken up in any fixed order in the discussion below. The first comes in response to the last few decades of high-powered philosophical writing on ‘aesthetic ideology.’1 Associated primarily with the romantic New Historicism of the 1980s, it is my judgment, rather, that this critical trend is taken to its furthest extent instead by forces already implicit in Yale School deconstruction. The inheritance runs through an approach developed in some important individual essays by Geoffrey Hartman to be discussed below, and in the book of that title by Paul de Man. A simple point I’d like to make in this connection is that Wordsworth’s images of enchantment don’t primarily relate to the realm of aesthetic form.
KeywordsLake District Natural Beauty Paradise Lost Aesthetic Theory Human Love
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