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Des paysages impossibles : nature, forme et historicité chez W. Wordsworth et S.T. Coleridge

Abstract : It is remarkable that Wordsworth should still be seen as the quintessential nature poet, when his poetry actually marks the demise of a well-established descriptive tradition in 18th-century English literature: depictions of landscape are much shorter and much less frequent in Wordsworth than in any of his predecessors. The present dissertation explores this paradox, a paradox which in historical and aesthetic terms could be read as heralding a « modern » shift towards abstraction. Wordsworth’s attempt to regenerate the forms and language of poetry through a recovery of « natural » authenticity amounts to a break with the Georgic mode crucial to English early modernity. It stems from the crisis in representation which attended the darkening of 18th-century optimism and meant that landscape could no longer be perceived as evidence of an immanent world-order. Romanticism in Wordsworth registers the default of cosmological discourse. I have tried to analyse this break in a twofold manner. The first part of this dissertation attempts to retrace, through close readings of Wordsworth’s and Coleridge’s early poetry, the gradual exhaustion of shared or conventional forms and meanings which led to the foundational moment of Lyrical Ballads. The second part, on the other hand, is concerned with Wordsworth’s subsequent evolution and attempts to chart it from three distinct moments [1798, 1802, 1807], suggesting that the poet’s increasing reliance on a conservative ideology is intimately bound up with the earlier, more radical aspects of his work.
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Laurent Folliot. Des paysages impossibles : nature, forme et historicité chez W. Wordsworth et S.T. Coleridge. Littératures. Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle - Paris III, 2010. Français. ⟨NNT : 2010PA030159⟩. ⟨tel-00881236⟩

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