Prophetic Memory in Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Sonnets

Prophetic Memory in Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Sonnets

Prophetic Memory in Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Sonnets

Prophetic Memory in Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Sonnets

Synopsis

Rylestone focuses on Wordsworth's interrelation of the individual, nature, and the Church, arguing that an understanding of these sonnets is necessary for a complete understanding of the poet's works.

Excerpt

The Ecclesiastical Sonnets' provide a valuable perspective on the extensive Wordsworthian landscape that evolves over the course of the poet's many works. the Church suddenly imposes itself upon the reader's consciousness, much like a mountain that has long dominated a familiar landscape, but because of some strangeness in the moment, the power of its presence is felt for the first time. the Church represents Christianity in its institutional form, a new focus in the Wordsworth repertoire; but it also represents Christianity manifested in private suffering, endeavor, and spiritual triumph, a theme familiar to the reader of Wordsworth. in this work, the Church looms with a pervading sense of timelessness as an architectural, political, and spiritual force in that otherwise familiar landscape.

The nearly two-thousand-year expanse of British Church history covered by the Ecclesiastical Sonnets significantly augments the breadth of human experience dramatized in the vast and varied Wordsworthian landscape. the epic scope of the series, together with its ostensible and inherent purposes, draws the reader to the Gothic church analogy that the poet uses to describe the structural unity of the totality of his works. in the 1814 preface to The Excursion, the poet describes The Recluse, which was to be the major artistic accomplishment of his life, as analogous to a "gothic church," to which "the . . .

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