Tony Harrison: Poems

Victorian, Romantic and Modernist Literature: Style as Cultural Commentary College

Tony Harrison’s “A Cold Coming,” William Wordsworth’s “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey,” Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and George Orwell’s 1984 each display distinct sensibilities that reflect the time from which they emerged. Modernist manifestos differentiate the Modernist movement from previous ones through its self-conscious examination of literature’s purpose in the cultural landscape, yet this very quality is what links all four of these texts. The Romanticist, Victorian and Modernist texts each represent a writer’s efforts to capture his time in a way that is meaningful and relevant.

The narrator in Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” reveals his artistic intentions in the narrative of his poem. The Romantic literary tradition exhibits a concern for a pure, unadulterated representation of nature that rejects lofty vocabulary and stylistic gimmicks. “Tintern Abbey” thus pays tribute to the principles of Romanticism while displaying the universal desire to create a valuable work of literature.

“Tintern Abbey” affirms the writing process as something that is both instructive and comforting. Wordsworth writes, “For I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes the...

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