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Wordsworth Wordpainter

In: Historical Events

Submitted By lisaholweg
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Lisa Holweg, 389431
Geschiedenis van kunst en cultuur
CC1001, van Poecke
24-09-13

William Wordsworth: Taal als voertuig van intense ervaringen

Voor mij ligt een boek, het ruikt nostalgisch muf als ik er doorheen blader. Zwarte letters dansen op beige papier. Uit de bladspiegel kan ik opmaken dat het om een gedichtenbundel gaat. De gedichten hebben geen strofen en het boek leest als één lange, aaneengesloten toespraak. De schrijver laat zijn regels niet per se rijmen, vaak maakt hij gebruik van een voortstuwend ritme met vijf jamben per regel. Deze vorm van enjambement is ook terug te zien bij een andere epische dichter, genaamd John Milton.
De totale prelude van William Wordsworth bestaat uit maar liefst 13 boeken, hierin wordt het ontstaat van een dichter beschreven. The Prelude begint in Wordsworth’s jeugd en eindigt in 1798 wanneer hij vindt dat de vormende jaren zijn verstreken. De boeken zijn postuum, in 1805 uitgegeven.
Het werk is autobiografisch. De centrale held in het verhaal is Wordsworth zelf. Dit centrale figuur zorgt voor eenheid binnen de dertien boeken. Ook de thema’s, het taalgebruik en de beeldspraak blijven opvallend constant door de boeken heen.
The prelude behoort tot de romantiek omdat Wordsworth in de gedichten nadruk legt op gevoel, instinct en genot in plaats van formaliteit en het ratio. Hiermee gaat hij recht tegen het verlichtingsdenken in volgens het lesboek Arts and Cultures. Ondanks het feit dat hij dus een vooruitstrevende en vernieuwende dichter is, is Wordsworth in veel van zijn werken bezig met de verloren glorie van het verleden. Niet alleen de dromen uit zijn kindertijd, maar ook het (geromantiseerde) historische verleden komt aan bod, bijvoorbeeld in het gedicht “London, 1802”, welke een ode is aan John Milton. Deze retrospectieve levenshouding is een kenmerk van de Romantiek. (DiYanni, R., Rebold Benton, J., 2012, pp. 202)
Het andere onderwerp wat veel aan bod komt in the prelude is de kindertijd en in het bijzonder de herinneringen die een volwassenen hieraan overhoud. In boek 1 t/m 7 stelt Wordsworth zichzelf de vraag of de kindertijd misschien de verloren verbinding is met de natuur, die alleen bewaard kan worden in ons geheugen (Wordsworth, 1805, boek 1-7).
Naast nostalgische gevoelens uit zijn kindertijd betrekt Wordsworth scenes uit de natuur, met name het Engelse platteland, in zijn beeldspraak en metaforen. Wordsworth vindt dat onze identiteit wordt gevormd door bijzondere momenten in ons bestaan, zogenaamde spots of time, die onze geest voeden. Deze momenten zijn ontmoetingen met de natuurlijke wereld. Over deze wereld spreekt hij vol lof en hij slaagt erin de wildheid en schoonheid van dit terrein met woorden vast te leggen en er een spirituele interpretatie aan te geven. Voorbeeld: "My present theme is to retrace the way that led me on through Nature to the love of human-kind" (Wordsworth, Boek 8, pp. 592-594).
In het voorwoord van Lyrical Ballads schrijft Wordsworth dat poëzie geschreven zou moeten worden in de natuurlijke omgangstaal, in plaats van die verheven, uitgewerkte taal die toentertijd als “poëtisch” werd beschouwt. Hij stelt ook dat poëzie toegang moet bieden tot emoties en dat het brengen van plezier door middel van ritme en mooie uitdrukkingen van gevoel de eerste prioriteiten moeten zij van poëzie. Hij spreekt in dit voorwoord ook over the naked and native dignity of man, en hoe het doorgronden hiervan een belangrijk doel is van zijn poëzie. Het ontstaan van de geestwetenschap in de romantiek heeft ook dus haar effect op de literatuur (Wordsworth, 1798, pp. 10).
Ik ben een liefhebber van het werk van Wordsworth. Als ik zijn gedichten lees voelt het alsof ik even kan ontsnappen aan mijn dagelijks leven (escapisme). De woorden bespelen mijn emoties op een perfecte manier. In de beste gevallen is er zo’n beheersing van het medium dat het voor mij het ware doel van poëzie bereikt: er vindt een perfecte vorm van het communiceren van ervaringen plaats dat de taal, als het voertuig hiervan, wordt vergeten. De Duitse romantische landschapsschilder Caspar David Friedrich beschikt in mijn ogen over ditzelfde talent. Als ik kijk naar afbeelding 1.1. brengt het schilderij de overweldigende ervaring van een adembenemend landschap net zo goed op mij over als de poëzie van William Wordsworth.
De romantiek heeft de basis gevormd voor een belangrijke pijler waar nu onze westerse samenleving op rust. Dat wij nu zoveel waarde hechten aan emotie en verbeelding hebben we dus onder andere te danken aan William Wordsworth.
Veel kenmerken van de romantiek vinden we ook terug in hedendaagse cultuurproducten, zoals de film de Titanic.

Literatuurlijst

Coleridge, S. T., Manson, M., Wordsworth, W. (2007) Lyrical Ballads
De Selincourt, E., Darbishire, D., Wordsworth, W. (1993). The Prelude: or, Growth of a poet’s mind
Rebold Benton, J., & DiYanni, R. (2012). Arts and Culture, an introduction to the humanities

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Bijlage

Afbeelding 1.1.
De wandelaar boven een zee van mist uit 1818 van Caspar David Friedrich

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[ 1 ]. Blank vers
[ 2 ]. Een combinatie van onbeklemtoonde en vervolgens een beklemtoonde tettergreep

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