28. “Strange Utterance”: The (Un)Natural Language of the Sublime in Wordsworth's Prelude

  1. Charles Mahoney Associate Professor of English
  1. Timothy Bahti Professor

Published Online: 3 MAY 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444390650.ch28

A Companion to Romantic Poetry

A Companion to Romantic Poetry

How to Cite

Bahti, T. (2010) “Strange Utterance”: The (Un)Natural Language of the Sublime in Wordsworth's Prelude, in A Companion to Romantic Poetry (ed C. Mahoney), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444390650.ch28

Editor Information

  1. University of Connecticut, USA

Author Information

  1. University of Michigan, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 MAY 2012
  2. Published Print: 26 NOV 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405135542

Online ISBN: 9781444390650

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Keywords:

  • “Strange utterance” - The (Un)Natural Language of the Sublime in Wordsworth's Prelude;
  • Coleridge's production, straightforward - the harp's strings, “caressed” by the breeze, yielding “notes” and “sound,” “rhythm” and a “warbl[ing],” in short, “Music”;
  • Coleridge's “The Eolian Harp” - one of the earliest, what M. H. Abrams identified as Romantic poems of “the correspondent breeze”;
  • Abrams, right in seeing the Romantic breeze - trope for interaction of nature and man, with a long Judeo-Christian heritage;
  • The Prelude, The breeze “seems half-conscious” - half-human, half-personified; when it is then apostrophized as a “messenger”;
  • Wordsworth-persona, on figurative edge of life and death - poet reverting to a comforting reprise of language of “correspondence”;
  • Wordsworth, wanting his language - to be nature's, even at its most sublime;
  • “Sheer language” after Wordsworth and Mallarmé - Dada sound poetry on the one hand, concrete poetry on the other;
  • Paul de Man, calling Wordsworth “a poet of sheer language” - sheer language, not presenting nature as persistently as Wordsworth does

Summary

This chapter contains sections titled:

  • I

  • II

  • III

  • References and Further Reading