Elation in Wordsworth and Fry

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Abstract / Description of output

This essay explores Paul Fry’s philosophical engagements with Wordsworth’s poetry using the figure of elation. In Geoffrey Hartman’s hands, elation is an alternative translation for Aufhebung, aligning Wordsworth’s moments of lightness and lifting with Hegel’s dialectical moves to raise and abolish. In Fry’s work, a different sort of elation moves in the opposite direction: not a raising up but the gentlest setting down; the grammatical and cognitive equivalent of the smoothest possible plane landing, the fall of sleep, someone turning off the light. This figure of setting down or settling is traced through the writing of Mark Akenside, William Wordsworth, and Maurice Blanchot, and through Fry’s work from early criticism on the English ode to his later account of Wordsworth, in which the ontology of nature emerges at the level of the line.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEssays in Romanticism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2023


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