Sublimity in “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” by William Wordsworth

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  • Topic: Emotion, Industrial Revolution, William Wordsworth
  • Pages : 4 (1453 words )
  • Download(s) : 373
  • Published : October 3, 2012
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“Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey,” by William Wordsworth, is a romantic poem that uses natural landscapes to induce an individual’s sublime emotional states. Sublime, according to Edmund Burke, is a profound emotional state experienced when someone is close to wild or dangerous events, but not directly in the path of danger. Carl Grosse, however, criticizes this definition and argues that danger only paralyzes the emotions and blocks sublime from emerging. By juxtaposing society with nature, youth with maturity, and life with death, Wordsworth reveals different emotional experiences by relating them to religion, insights and memories to support the Burkean theory that emphasizes fear as the essential element for sublime experiences.

“Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey” explores the properties between society and nature that evokes a profound feeling of harmony within the speaker. Beginning with society, the speaker reveals that “in lonely rooms” of “towns and cities”, he suffers “hours of weariness” (Wordsworth 25-27). The word “weariness” calls to mind fatigue and exhaustion associated with the working class in an industrialized society, where each person works independently to get the work done. In contrast, the speaker depicts nature as being peaceful and unified: the plots of ground lose themselves in the “landscape”, all vegetation is in the same “green hue”, “hedge-rows” are grown wild so that they do not divide parcels of land, and even “wreaths of smoke” connect the earth to the sky (Wordsworth 8-17). Having witnessed the tranquility of the landscape, the speaker develops an intense feeling of harmony that comforted and consoled him during his time in the industrialized society. This sublime experience provides him with “sensations sweet, / felt in the blood, and felt along the heart,” (Wordsworth 27-28) allowing him to overcome the “weariness” of urban life.

Furthermore, Wordsworth relates the sense of sublime in a...
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