Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: 'The most affecting eloquence' : Wordsworth and silence
Author: Fay, Jessica
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
This thesis is the first close study of Wordsworth and silence. It uncovers the comprehensive investigation into monastic history and hagiography (with special emphasis on St Basil) that Wordsworth engaged in between 1807 and 1810, showing that the type of silence he valued came from the monastic tradition. I trace Wordsworth’s material commitment to the power of silence through his use of hermit figures and his habit of visiting ruined monasteries. I concentrate on the poetry he composed from 1807 onwards and mark his eight-month residence in 1806-7 at the home of Sir George and Lady Beaumont as the locus at which his intensive interest in monasticism germinated. I thus reveal a new dimension to this important patronal relationship, while additionally offering an analysis of a previously unstudied manuscript pamphlet ('An account of an English Hermit' by Thomas Barnard) which Lady Beaumont sent to the Wordsworths in 1809. I show how Wordsworth’s fascination with monastic sites and silence influenced his understanding of linguistic and political representation, inheritance, community, and pastoral retreat. At the same time, this critical attention to silence aids a revaluation of the religious vision of his work. The thesis uses this historical and biographical information as a means of closely reassessing formal, linguistic, and generic features of Wordsworth's poetry. At its root, my work is about the natures of language, poetic representation, and readerly experience. How does Wordsworth communicate via silence? How does he use silence to 'create the taste' for his poetry? Where does silence impact on his renovation of genre and conceptions of form? I conclude that, for Wordsworth, silence is a positive gathering of stillness from within that is nourished by patterns of repeated activity and community. It is one of his most profound heuristic tools.
Supervisor: Stafford, Fiona Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Language and Literature ; Wordsworth ; silence ; monasticism ; Coleorton ; pastoral