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Title: Living within the light of high endeavours : Wordsworth's poetry of 1800-1805 and the influence of John Milton
Author: Connors, S. G.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1986
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By exploring the influence of Milton on Wordsworth's poetry of 1800-1805, I seek to demonstrate that Milton's life and work forms a deep-rooted ideological inspiration for Wordsworth's greatest poetry and in particular his attempts to create a modern epic. In Section II, I explore the early Grasmere poems: Home at Grasmere and Michael. The former celebrates Wordsworth's natural locus for intellectual excursion and sees in the valley society an edenic exemplar of society's potential. In Michael this society is under threat as the economic reality of the early nineteenth century erodes the world of relationship exemplified by Michael's life. Such erosion leads to a trend of social and personal dislocation and discontinuity and in Section III, I trace the way Wordsworth deals with such experience in the lyrics of 1802. In Resolution and Independence and the Ode: Intimations of Immortality he feels his way towards a faith akin to the one Milton expresses in Lycidas. In the sonnets of 1802 Wordsworth faces the threat posed to his vision of human potential by the world of power politics, in particular the perverse leadership of Napoleon. In a mood of introspection and national criticism Wordsworth seeks hope in his own country's ideological history which found its greatest epoch in the society envisaged by Milton and his contemporaries of the English Republic. In the final section I explore the intimate relationship between Wordsworth's most successful epic The Prelude and Milton's Paradise Lost. In exploring the debt Wordsworth owes here, I seek to demonstrate that he worked with a sense of purpose, organisation and relationship to the work of his great predecessor that is not always granted him, and that by such work Wordsworth hoped to play his destined role in the historical process of human progress.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available