Wordsworth: visionary poet of the natural world
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This thesis responds to two questions recently reformulated by Paul Fry and Simon Jarvis, respectively: (1) Is Wordsworth a nature poet?; and (2) Does his poetry qualify as "philosophic Song"? My answer to both questions is yes, for the following reason. Wordsworth is at his most visionary not, as has often been claimed, when he dispenses with nature, but when he seeks to redefine nature: when he approaches it not from the perspective of the spectator but from the perspective of the philosopher (albeit an unsystematic and strictly experiential philosopher). In an attempt to develop new ways of thinking, both about Wordsworth and about the natural world, I elucidate two aspects of his poetry that I feel have not been sufficiently elucidated: its redefining of nature, and its reimagining of nature’s relation to human life.