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Showing posts from June, 2014

A Note on Things, Language and Enormous Philosophical Dilemmas

I remember, rather a long time ago, trying to lecture on the following lines from Lyrical Ballads:
How rich the wave, in front imprest
With evening-twilight's summer hues,
While, facing thus the crimson west,
The boat her silent path pursues!
And see how dark the backward stream!
('Lines Written Near Richmond', ll.1-5)I think I was drawn to them precisely because I found them difficult to analyse, and although I noted their materiality (water, light, colour), I ended up concentrating on the poem's temporality, and its intensification and stilling of motion to a single, sacramental instant: 'as we glide along / For him suspend the dashing oar' (ll.33-4). I think there is a sense that the dissolving of time in a poem can express spatiality and, indeed, that the dissolving of space might express time. But the analysis in the lecture still seems a little weak or lacking to me. These Wordsworth lines came back to me recently on reading, strangely enough, Dickens' Lit…