Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Notes For July 13th, 2011


This Day In Writing History

On July 13th, 1798, legendary British poet William Wordsworth wrote his classic poem Tintern Abbey. He had just returned from a visit to Wales, accompanied by his sister Dorothy. While on a four-day walking tour of the Welsh countryside, they visited Tintern Abbey, a ruined church that was the first Cistercian monastery in Wales, and only the second in the United Kingdom.

Wordsworth composed the poem in his head while on the four-day walking tour, using a singsong method he had developed called "booing and hawing." That was quite a feat, considering the length and quality of the poem. As soon as he got back home to Bristol, he wrote the poem down. The day after that, he brought it to the printers.

The poem Tintern Abbey first appeared in the book Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems, which Wordsworth co-wrote with his friend, poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Published later in 1798, it included Coleridge's classic poem, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. The first edition sold out within two years. The second edition of the book included a preface article on Romantic poetry.

Tintern Abbey, (its full title is Lines Written A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey) a long blank verse poem that read more like prose, dealt with the fundamental themes of Romantic poetry, including communion with nature, which has a restorative power. The poem also deals with memory, specifically childhood memory and how it affects us as adults. These themes were hugely important in Wordsworth's work.

The complete text of the poem can be found here.


Quote Of The Day

"What is a Poet? He is a man speaking to men: a man, it is true, endowed with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm and tenderness, who has a greater knowledge of human nature, and a more comprehensive soul, than are supposed to be common among mankind; a man pleased with his own passions and volitions, and who rejoices more than other men in the spirit of life that is in him; delighting to contemplate similar volitions and passions as manifested in the goings-on of the Universe, and habitually impelled to create them where he does not find them." - William Wordsworth


Vanguard Video

Today's video features a complete reading of William Wordsworth's classic poem, Tintern Abbey. Enjoy!


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