The Dialectic of Temporality and Immortality: Memory in William Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads
This paper is aimed to trace out the dialectic between temporality and immortality in Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads. The major medium that renders these two ideas dialogic rests with the discourse of memory in Wordsworth’s poems. The discourse of memory itself takes various forms: ranging all the way from meditative recollection of the past, reflection on the epitaph and monument of the deceased, implementation of the burial ritual, and to the form, implications, and vocation of poetry per se.
This paper is divided into three chapters along with a substantial introduction and a succinct conclusion. In the first chapter, the poem “Tintern Abbey” would serve as the chief text for our scrutiny and analysis to bring out the subtle relationship between memory and temporality. In the second chapter, a number of poems, mostly dedicated to the motifs of death, grave, and nature, would be brought into our discussion to clarify the delicate link between memory and immortality. Following the discussion of the preceding two chapters comes the third chapter, which is aimed at an elaboration of the ongoing rapport between temporality and immortality through a comprehensive overview of all those potentially interlocked poems in Lyrical Ballads.
As a whole, this paper will clarify how Wordsworth addresses himself to the most fundamental consideration of time, life and death, and their influences on the human heart, as are adroitly arranged and represented in his Lyrical Ballads. Also, it is based on a thorough understanding of these conventional motifs that we could move forward to examine the dialectic of temporality and immortality, mostly through the medium of memory, in Wordsworth’s poetry.
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