Departmental Bulletin Paper William Wordsworth; Natural Sciences, and Humanity

井上 美沙子

(80)  , pp.165 - 190 , 2015-10-30
When we read “Advertisement” and “Preface to The Lyrical Ballads “written by W. Wordsworth, we can find out his key words, such as “ a well-authenticated facts which happened in Warwickshire” and “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling”, which imply his great interest in the interaction between natural science and the humanities and their influence on each other. Having been inspired by many cases reported by Erasmus Darwin, he composed many poems, ‘Goody Blake and Harry Gill’, the Lucy poems, ‘Her Eyes are Wild’,and so on. He realized that there was a deep connection between the imagination and the human body, that was a function of organic life. Spontaneity is an essential feature in the laws of organic life and so his imagination was stimulated enough to realize his own poetic theme and methods with the aid of scientific phenomena such as “syncope”. The idea of “syncope” might have drawn his attention to the truth and aroused his desire to rejuvenate his poetic power. Those processes were indispensable steps in Wordsworth’s growth as a poet. He used these things in his writing method and also in the themes of his poetry such as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling”, which revealed the truth. That was his own way of“transfiguration” from science to art, which was as it were, his polemics.It might be seen that he also had a great fear of future imbalance between natural science and the humanities, which inspired him his dream in The Prelude V, the Shell or the Stone dream, which puts forward the ideas of the totality of human powers – Euclid’s “Elements” on the one hand, poetry on the other. Even now we can say that Wordsworth’s prophecy of the “Deluge” as described in The Prelude V still carries warning. So Wordsworth reveals himself as a very modern and natural scientific (organic) poet, who was wishing to reconcile Natural Sciences with Humanity.

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