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Introduction to Literature Lecture 2 Literature and Literary Studies As a Discipline
How to make sense of texts by establishing connections – within the text – between or among texts – between texts and their context
William Wordsworth by Benjamin Robert Haydon, oil on canvas, 1842 NPG
William Wordsworth (1770-1850) I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud (1804-1807) I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud cont. The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed – and gazed – but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.
The original three stanza version published in William Wordsworth: Poems in Two Volumes: Moods of my Mind (1807) I wandered lonely as a Cloud That floats on high o'er Vales and Hills, When all at once I saw a crowd A host of dancing Daffodils; Along the Lake, beneath the trees, Ten thousand dancing in the breeze. The waves beside them danced, but they Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: -- A poet could not but be gay In such a laughing company: I gaz'd--and gaz'd--but little thought What wealth the shew to me had brought:
Three stanza version, cont. For oft when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude, And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the Daffodils.
Clark, Colette, ed.: Home et Grasmere. Extracts from the Journal of Dorothy Wordworth and from the Poems of William Wordsworth. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1978, 192-193 Dorothy Wordsworth: The Grasmere Journal. Thursday, 15 April 1802 “When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seed ashore & that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more & yet more & at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about & about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed and reeled and danced & seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever dancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here & there a little knot & a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity & unity & life of that one busy highway. We rested again & again. The Bays were stormy & we heard the waves at different distances & in the middle of the water like the Sea.”
The Lake District is a mountainous region in North West England.
Connections within the text Repetition of a word, an image, a metaphor, a metrical pattern Repetition: straightforward repetition repetition with a difference: variation repetition by offering a contrast
Connections between or among texts among works by the same author among works by various authors within a genre, within the literature of a period, within English literature, within literature written in English within literature available in English (not necessarily limited to Western culture)
Resolution and Independence (1804-1807) III I was a Traveller then upon the moor, I saw the hare that raced about with joy; I heard the woods and distant waters roar; Or heard them not, as happy as a boy: The pleasant season did my heart employ: My old remembrances went from me wholly; And all the ways of men, so vain and melancholy.
Resolution, cont. VIII Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven I saw a Man before me unawares: The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs. XI Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood, XV He told, that to these waters he had come To gather leeches, being old and poor:
Leeches are segmented worms. The majority of leeches live in freshwater environments. They are predominantly blood suckers that feed on blood from vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Leeches have been historically used in medicine to remove blood from patients.
Resolution, cont. XX And soon with this he other matter blended, Cheerfully uttered, with demeanour kind, But stately in the main; and when he ended, I could have laughed myself to scorn to find In that decrepit Man so firm a mind. "God," said I, "be my help and stay secure; I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!"
Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood (1802-1804) XI Thanks to the human heart by which we live, Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears, To me the meanest flower that blows can give Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
The Solitary Reaper (1805-1807) Behold her, single in the field, Yon solitary Highland Lass! Reaping and singing by herself; […] Will no one tell me what she sings? – […]
Solitary, cont. Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang As if her song could have no ending; I saw her singing at her work, And o'er the sickle bending; – I listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more.
Gill, Stephen, ed.: William Wordsworth. The Oxford Authors. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984, 716 The poem was inspired by Thomas Wilkinson: Tours to the British Mountains (published 1824) which Wordsworth read in manuscript. “Passed by a Female who was reaping alone: she sung in Erse as she bended over sickle; the sweetest human Voice I ever heard: her strains were tenderly,melancholy and felt delicious, long after they were heard no more.”
Context of history of English poetry The poem anticipates Keats’s Ode to a Nightingale and Ode on Grecian Urn, both being meditations on art. It also anticipates Keats’s Ode to Autumn in which poem the figure of a girl reaping in the fields appears.
Robert Herrick (1591–1674) To Daffodils Fair Daffodils, we weep to see You haste away so soon; As yet the early-rising sun Has not attain'd his noon. Stay, stay, Until the hasting day Has run But to the even-song; And, having pray'd together, we Will go with you along.
Herrick, cont. We have short time to stay, as you, We have as short a spring; As quick a growth to meet decay, As you, or anything. We die As your hours do, and dry Away, Like to the summer's rain; Or as the pearls of morning's dew, Ne'er to be found again.
Robert Herrick HESPERIDES; or, The Works both humane and divine. London: John Williams and Francis Eglesfield, 1648.
Carpe diem short-lived nature of life fleeting passage of time melancholy and sadness lamenting the waste of beauty thoughtful mood
Ted Hughes: Daffodils [in: Birthday Letters (1998)] Remember how we picked the daffodils? Nobody else remembers, but I remember. Your daughter came with her armfuls, eager and happy, Helping the harvest. She has forgotten. She cannot even remember you. And we sold them. It sounds like sacrilege, but we sold them.
Hughes, cont. […] The daffodils Were incidental gilding of the deeds, Treasure trove. They simply came, And they kept on coming. As if not from the sod but falling from heaven. Our lives were still a raid on our own good luck. We knew we'd live forever. We had not learned What a fleeting glance of the everlasting Daffodils are. […]
Hughes, cont. Every March since they have lifted again Out of the same bulbs, the same Baby-cries from the thaw, Ballerinas too early for music, shiverers In the draughty wings of the year. On that same groundswell of memory, fluttering They return to forget you stooping there Behind the rainy curtains of a dark April, Snipping their stems. But somewhere your scissors remember. Wherever they are. Here somewhere, blades wide open, April by April Sinking deeper Through the sod-an anchor, a cross of rust.
Ted Hughes (1930-1998) and Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)
Ted Hughes: Daffodils in: Flowers and Insects (1986) I had not learned What a fleeting glance of the everlasting Daffodils are. Did not recognise The nuptial flight of the rarest epherma - My own days! Hardly more body than a hallucionation! A dream of gifts – opening their rustlings for me! I thought they were a windfall. I picked them. I sold them.
Connections between texts and their contexts Between (among) literary texts and the sister arts Between (among) literary texts and other spheres of language and culture, including philosophy, history, law, medicine, natural sciences, as well as the daily life, politics, or popular culture characteristic of a period at any given time/place
Poem (or part of it) as motto Thomas Hardy: The Riddle (1917) Stretching eyes west Over the sea, Wind foul or fair, Always stood she Prospect-impressed; Solely out there Did her gaze rest, Never elsewhere Seemed charm to be. John Fowles: The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) Its heroine, Sarah Woodruff is likened to Tess of the d'Urbervilles, the protagonist of another novel by Hardy of the same title (1891).
Title of a novel, drama, film Thomas Hardy: Far from the Madding Crowd (1874) Thomas Gray: Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1750) There are several films based on this book. The best known is John Schlesinger adaptation (1967). In 1998 Nicholas Renton directed a tv adaptation. No Country for Old Men is a 2007 American thriller written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same title W. B. Yeats: Sailing to Byzantium (1927)