By A. Nichols
Within the wintry weather of 1798-99, close up within the freezing German city of Goslar, William Wordsworth begun generating a chain of lyrical fragments that seemed first in letters written to Coleridge and emerged finally as resource texts for The Prelude . those lyrics are innovative simply because they build a brand new model of the autobiographical 'I'. The progressive 'I' explores the various voices of the poetic speaker 'Wordsworth' and their courting to the ancient determine who shared an identical identify.
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Additional info for The Revolutionary ‘I’: Wordsworth and the Politics of Self-Presentation
470), is best understood not as an authentic autobiographical version of William Wordsworth. Rather, this 'I' is a complex figuration of the word 'Wordsworth', a name that can live forever in a text only by dying into the still silence of words on a page. 2 The Politics of Self-Pres entation: Wordsworth as Revolutionary Actor in a Literary Drama In the winter of 1798-9, shut up in the frigid German town of Goslar, William Wordsworth began producing a series of lyrical fragments that appeared first in letters written to Coleridge and eventually emerged as source texts for The Prelude.
On the other hand, he seeks a silence that might stand for the permanence, stasis, and unchanging quality that language, by its very dynamism, denies. The most affecting tombstone inscription, Wordsworth argues in his 'Essay on Epitaphs', would be the one that records an infant's name, with birth date and death date separated by only one day (Prose, 1: 370). On these terms, the state-of-being represented by Matthew, Lucy, and the revised 'dead' boy of Winander may be a state to be desired, though perhaps not in a literal sense.
The only way out of this fearfully echoic interplay of consciousness may be its opposite: still lakes, silent owls, inanimate rocks and stones, dead boys, dead girls, dead still water, dead silence. At the moment that the Wordsworthian self gives up the illusion of its independent existence, it dies into the text to be reborn into something, as Yeats would later say, intended and complete. The Wordsworth who writes poems is no longer the Wordsworth who sits down to the breakfast table; rather, he is a new being - 'false' perhaps - yet aesthetically 'perfect', and, at least artistically, permanent_ll 'There was a boy' is an epitaph for the child that fathered the poet Wordsworth.