Wordsworth's Poetical Works

God on Prairie, in the Mountain, and in All of Nature: How Learning Leads to the Sublime in the Work of William Wordsworth College

For Wordsworth, it is the human imagination and potential to not just observe, but comprehend, nature that ascribes the sublime meaning. Without human cognizance, the objects and elements of the sublime are just physical tokens. Man’s finite existence and the sublime’s apparent totality appear in opposition to one another. However, for Wordsworth, it is man’s interaction with the sublime in nature that represents a profound characteristic of the human experience. While man never be able to fully appreciate or understand the universe in its whole, its entirety can almost be parceled and understood through appreciating objects and elements of the sublime in nature. In this instance, in both “The Prelude,” “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey,” Wordsworth uses the sublime to express the finite condition of man and the yearning desire for a full understanding of the universe through the sublime.

The sublime is omnipresent and powerful. For Wordsworth, as well as for his friend and fellow Romantic contemporary Coleridge, the sublime represents a yearning for a deeper understanding of a holistic universe. Both Wordsworth and Coleridge struggled with their finite existence and comprehensive of the metaphysical forces...

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