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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Wordsworth's Writing Cure, by David Takamura

Columbus, Ohio native David Takamura is a poet and scholar of Romantic literature. He is a graduate student in the program in German Studies jointly run by the universities of North Carolina and Duke, where his work focuses on narcissism and its opposite life abnegation. His own poetic work has been published in The Grout, and Cirque.

Here, he shares his thoughts on Wordsworth's Two Part Prelude in the essay Wordsworth's Writing Cure, published with TRANSverse Journal

"Only a fraction of the length of its 1805 and 1850 versions, Wordsworth’s “Two-Part Prelude” of 1799 functions more as an abstract than as a first draft for English Romanticism’s definitive trace of the development of poetic sensibility. Though shorter than The Prelude proper, the “Two-Part Prelude” condenses the key elements in each version of the work, namely, the poem’s “spots of time” (I, 288) that Jonathan Bishop has dubbed “the center of our experience” in the overall work (45). These moments are memories of Wordsworth’s which illuminate the activity of the poet’s creative mind, the dynamism of which Alan Richardson says is merely intensified in the 1805 and 1850 versions (15), having already been laid bare in Wordsworth’s first attempt to express it. In order for these spots to be the center of our experience with this autobiographical poem, they must first be the center of Wordsworth’s experience with himself. As such autobiographies, all versions of The Prelude contain the genre’s characteristic temporal split between a narrating and narrated self, but as poetry they move beyond this conventional reflection and establish themselves not just as historical documentations of scenes and deeds, but as clarifications of something psychologically generative behind such moments. The Prelude does not record the general breadth of the poet’s time and sense, rather it focuses on those spots that are significantly, yet almost unconsciously, formative. Accordingly, Wordsworth’s first version of the poem is also his first attempt to delineate this process, an act of memory concerning memory itself, a spiral within the spiral of Wordsworth’s self-reflection."

Follow this link for his full essay.

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