Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

"The life of things" : weird realisms in Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads Public Deposited

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  • My thesis explores the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth as emblematic of Western philosophy and literature's longstanding preoccupation with the relationship between mind and matter. The poets' attempts to mediate their languages and sensibilities with "real nature" have a complicated legacy for today's readers, as Romantic literature tends to be anthropocentric and idealistic even as it gestures toward radical ways of being and perception. I ally with the emerging field of speculative realism in order to retrieve what is fresh and pertinent about these attempts to access and engage with material realities while still acknowledging the linguistic complexities that shape human subjectivity. Applying concepts from Bruno Latour, Jane Bennett, and Ian Bogost to readings of Coleridge and Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads, I argue that the poets' success in apprehending "nature" lies not in their ability to render accuracy through language, as traditional literary critics tend to favor, but in the failures of their language to contain the heterogeneous nature of reality. I devote Chapter One to my analysis of Coleridge's strange but iconic poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," and propose that the poet's fractured and experimental style can be read as a break in anthropocentric methods of meaning rather than a poetic failure, as Coleridge's contemporaries and even current readers have viewed it. Chapter Two elaborates on this argument by critiquing Wordsworth's attempts to restore a harmonious interface with the objects of his perception, but also emphasizes the power and complexity of Wordsworth's brand of realism by reading it in material-oriented rather than humanist terms. Ultimately, I argue, speculative realism offers the possibility that both poets deploy philosophical and literary realisms that can be read in a new century that aims to legitimize nonhuman experience.
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Saara England (englansa@onid.orst.edu) on 2014-10-01T01:33:52Z No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1232 bytes, checksum: bb87e2fb4674c76d0d2e9ed07fbb9c86 (MD5) EnglandSaaraA2014.pdf: 782225 bytes, checksum: af11f911a9a090f8636a19fa3a6cb07e (MD5)
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Laura Wilson(laura.wilson@oregonstate.edu) on 2014-10-03T21:01:21Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1232 bytes, checksum: bb87e2fb4674c76d0d2e9ed07fbb9c86 (MD5) EnglandSaaraA2014.pdf: 782225 bytes, checksum: af11f911a9a090f8636a19fa3a6cb07e (MD5)

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