Introduction to Literature Lecture 2

Introduction to Literature
Lecture 2
Literature and Literary Studies
As a Discipline
How to make sense of texts by establishing
– within the text
– between or among texts
– between texts and their context
William Wordsworth
by Benjamin Robert Haydon, oil on canvas, 1842
William Wordsworth
I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud
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
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
“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.
Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater in the Lake District
Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater in the Lake District
Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater in the Lake District
Topographical poetry
Nature poetry
Meditative poetry
Stanza form
Rhyme pattern
Metrical form
Connections within the text
Repetition of a word, an image, a metaphor, a metrical
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
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.
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.
Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood,
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Like to the summer's rain;
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again.
Robert Herrick
or, The Works both
humane and divine.
London: John Williams
and Francis Eglesfield,
Carpe diem
short-lived nature of life
fleeting passage of time
melancholy and sadness
lamenting the waste of beauty
thoughtful mood
Ted Hughes (1930-1998)
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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)