Tintern Abby: Katie McElhaney

“All so I dare to hope
Through changed, no doubt, from what I was, when first
I came amount these hills; when like a roe
I bounded o’er the mountains; by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led; more like a man
Flying from something he dreads, than one
Who sought the thing he loved.”

The passage above accurately portrays the aspect of the “sublime” within this piece. First, nature is prevalent to the narrator. All of his being and experience is through the awesomeness of nature. Secondly, the narrator is overcome by nature, but in a hauntingly beautiful way. He explains that nature was “more like a man flying from something he dreads, than one who sought the thing he loved.” the landscape of this piece shows the vastness and obsurity the narrator feels when confronted with nature; fearing nature rather than being at ease with it.

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One thought on “Tintern Abby: Katie McElhaney

  1. Yes, the sensation of dread is a core experience of the sublime. But much of the poem explicitly deals with the picturesque, which is a different kind of aesthetic. Since the passage you quote is Wordsworth’s self-description as a youth, do you think he’s playing the picturesque off of the sublime here? Is there a hierarchy or a coordination of these two modes? If so, how do they work? In future posts, try taking these kinds of observations further, since that’s where the real interest lies, and you might also generate material to re-use in a paper.

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