Wordsworth's revisionary reading
The subject of this thesis is revision in Wordsworth, and the ways in which he translates material into psychic and renewable experience. The first three chapters offer different contexts for a theory of vision theological, philosophical and aesthetic. Chapter One discusses Wordsworth's relation to Coleridge's Unitarianism, as it evolves in the philosophical poetry and in the concept of The Recluse. I examine how Coleridge's 'love of "the Great", and "the Whole"' determines his critique of Wordsworth and the self-analysis of The Prelude. Chapter Two is divided between the Wordsworthian practice of revision, which transfigures visual memory for mental use, and the Coleridgean, that reads in landscape the symbolic text of a 'God in nature'. In Chapter Three, I address the definitions of vision Wordsworth makes independently of Coleridge, and in relation to Milton and Burke, to the applied aesthetics of the picturesque, and to their extension in the scenes of The Prelude. The second half of the thesis considers the psychological content of Wordsworthian landscape. Chapters Four and Six follow the mental drama of the Tour, with its topographical notation of expectation, disappointment and recovery. These motifs are also related to the determining structures of the French Revolution, and to The Prelude's reading of the language and aspirations of the 1798 Recluse. Chapter Six examines strategies of compensation, and their function in the ideology of reconciling mind and Nature. Chapter Five is concerned with revision proper, and the figures by which it is represented. As well as revision of a textual kind, I discuss Wordsworth's development of the more literal-minded 'second sight' of eighteenth-century aesthetics.