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首页 Scott McEathron. Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads, an…

Scott McEathron. Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads, and the Problem of Peasant Poetry.pdf

Scott McEathron. Wordsworth, Ly…

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2013-07-09 0人阅读 举报 0 0 暂无简介

简介:本文档为《Scott McEathron. Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads, and the Problem of Peasant Poetrypdf》,可适用于人文社科领域

Wordsworth,LyricalBallads,andtheProblemofPeasantPoetryAuthor(s):ScottMcEathronSource:NineteenthCenturyLiterature,Vol,No(Jun,),ppPublishedby:UniversityofCaliforniaPressStableURL:http:wwwjstororgstableAccessed::YouruseoftheJSTORarchiveindicatesyouracceptanceoftheTermsConditionsofUse,availableathttp:wwwjstororgpageinfoaboutpoliciestermsjspJSTORisanotforprofitservicethathelpsscholars,researchers,andstudentsdiscover,use,andbuilduponawiderangeofcontentinatrusteddigitalarchiveWeuseinformationtechnologyandtoolstoincreaseproductivityandfacilitatenewformsofscholarshipFormoreinformationaboutJSTOR,pleasecontactsupportjstororgUniversityofCaliforniaPressiscollaboratingwithJSTORtodigitize,preserveandextendaccesstoNineteenthCenturyLiteraturehttp:wwwjstororgThiscontentdownloadedfromonTue,Jul::AMAllusesubjecttoJSTORTermsandConditionsWordsworth,LyricalBallads,andtheProblemofPeasantPoetrySCOTTMCEATHRONNEoftheunwrittenhistorieswithinRomanticismisthatoftherelationshipbetweenWordsworth'srusticpoeticsandthesocalled"peasant"and"workingclass"poetryofthelateeighteenthandearlynineteenthcenturiesThatitremainsunwrittenis,insomeways,anindicationthatWordsworthhascontinuedtowinthebattleforhistoricalselfpositioningthatwasalwayssoimportanttohimThoughinrecentyearswehavebecomeincreasinglywaryofWordsworth'spassionateandvigorousdeclarationsoforiginality,forthemostparthisownselfcontextualizingessaysespeciallytheoo"Preface"toLyricalBalladscontinuetogovernoursensethattheappearanceofhis"levelling"MusemarkedaradicalbreakinBritishliteraryhistory'byTheRegentsoftheUniversityofCaliforniaIThetermisHazlitt's(see"MrWordsworth,"inTheSpiritoftheAge:or,ContemporaryPortraits,inTheCompleteWorksofWilliamHazlittinTwentyOneVolumes,CentenaryEdition,edPPHowe,volsLondon:jMDentandSons,,XI,)ThefirstmoderndiscussionofthecontemporaryfeaturesofWordsworth'sverse,RobertMayo's"TheContemporaneityoftheLyricalBallads,"PMLA,(),,locateditinrelationtothemagazinepoetryofthesMyfocusherehasmoreincommonwithobservationsmaderecentlybyOliviaSmithinThePoliticsofLanguage,III(Oxford:ClarendonPress,),ppAnnetteWheelerCafarelli,"TheRomantic'Peasant'PoetsandtheirPatrons,"TheWordsworthCircle,(),andBettyRizzo,"ThePatronasPoetMaker:ThePoliticsofBenefaction,"StudThiscontentdownloadedfromonTue,Jul::AMAllusesubjecttoJSTORTermsandConditionsNINETEENTHCENTURYLITERATUREWemighthaveadifferentsenseofWordsworth'srelationshiptohisculturalmomentifFrancisJeffrey'sviewhadprevailedJeffrey'snotoriousattackintheEdinburghReviewontheLakeSchoolofPoetscontainedanumberofchargesagainstWordsworth'spoeticprogram,includingtheparticularlycontemptuousassertionthatWordsworth'spoetryechoedthatoftheversifying"prodigies"and"uneducatedwonders"whohadbeenaliterarysensationinBritainformorethanhalfacenturyNotingWordsworth's"affectationofgreatsimplicity,"Jeffreydeclaredhisrusticversefraudulentinconceitandvulgarineffect,saying:Wemayexcuseacertainhomelinessoflanguageintheproductionsofaploughmanoramilkwomanbutwecannotbringour'selvestoadmireitinanauthor,whohashadoccasiontoinditeodestohiscollegebell,andinscribehymnstothePenatesGiventheMontBlanclikeserenitywithwhichWordsworthtodayoccupieshisplaceatoptheRomanticcanon,itisperhapsdifficulttoimaginehowsuchapeevishchargeofslummingcouldhaveposedanyrealthreattohisaspirationsAtthetime,though,Jeffrey'sassociationofWordsworthwithuneducatedpoetsmayhaveseemedfarfromunreasonabletoreadersoftheReviewWordsworth'snameattheturnofthecenturymeant"nothing,"asColeridgenoted,whilesuchfiguresas"TheThresherPoet"(StephenDuck),"TheBristolMilkwoman"(AnnYearsley),and"TheFarmer'sBoy"(RobertBloomfield)hadprovokedperiodicburstsofcriticalandpopularattentionoverthecourseofseventyyearsAddingtothepowerofJeffrey'sinsult,then,washisrelianceonwidespreadfamiliaritywiththequickrisetocelebrityofmostpeasantpoets,andtheiriesinEighteenthCenturyCulture,(),Thoughsuggestive,theseworksdonotpursueindetailthepropositionthatpeasantpoetrywasadirectinfluenceonWordsworth'saestheticprojectFrancisJeffrey,revofThalaba,quotedinRobertSouthey:TheCriticalHeritage,edLionelMadden(London:RoutledgeandKeganPaul,),ppForanothercontemporaryreviewplacingWordsworthwithinthefieldofsimpleverse,seethereviewofLyricalBalladsintheNewLondonReview,(),Coleridge,lettertoJosephCottle,May,inCollectedLettersofSamuelTaylorColeridge,edEarlLeslieGriggs,vols(Oxford:ClarendonPress,),I,ThiscontentdownloadedfromonTue,Jul::AMAllusesubjecttoJSTORTermsandConditionsWORDSWORTHANDPEASANTPOETRYevenquickerfallintoobsolescence:agentlemanpoettakingonrusticdictionwaseitherplayingforcheapfameortryingtodisguisealackofrealtalent,andperhapsbothNeverthesubtlestofculturalcommentators,JeffreytermedWordsworth'siooLyricalBalladscollection"oneofhismostflagrantactsofhostility"(p),andhisagitationoverWordsworth's"pervertedtasteforsimplicity"(p)wasinfusedwithanalmostxenophobicclasssuspicion"Itisabsurdtosuppose,"hewrote,"thatanauthorshouldmakeuseofthelanguageofthevulgar,toexpressthesentimentsoftherefined":Thelove,orgrief,orindignationofanenlightenedandrefinedcharacter,isnotonlyexpressedinadifferentlanguage,butisinitselfadifferentemotionfromthelove,orgrief,orangerofaclown,atradesman,oramarketwench(pp)Inhisglibevocationofamonolithicpeasant"idiom"(a"languageofthevulgar"),Jeffreyconvenientlyeffacedthevarietiesofpeasantwritersandofplebeianverse,aswellasthecomplexityofWordsworth'spossiblerelationshiptothattraditionItcouldbeargued,nonetheless,thatWordsworth'sownelaboratepublicstatementsabouttheplaceofhisrusticversewithinliteraryculturewerejustasmisleadingasJeffrey'sbroadsideBeginningwiththebrief"Advertisement"to,LyricalBallads()andcontinuinginthemassive"Preface"totheoosecondedition,WordsworthpresentedhimselfasBritain'ssolecontemporarypoetof"lowandrusticlife"andsuggestedthathisexperimentswith"thelanguageofconversationinthemiddleandlowerclasses"markedsuchadeparturefromprevailingliterarynormsastobeliterallyunrecognizableasverseThetropesandtermsinthe"Preface"thatnowseemsoinherentlyandintimatelyWordsworthian"simpleandunelaboratedexpressions,""theessentialpassionsoftheheart,""themannersofrurallife,""thenecessarycharacterofruraloccupations"(Prose,I,)infactexpressednodesofvalue(rusticism,auWilliamWordsworth,"PrefacetoLyricalBallads(oo),"and"Advertisement,"inTheProseWorksofWilliamWordsworth,edWJBOwenandJaneWorthingtonSmyser,vols(Oxford:ClarendonPress,),I,,ThiscontentdownloadedfromonTue,Jul::AMAllusesubjecttoJSTORTermsandConditionsNINETEENTHCENTURYLITERATUREthenticity,simplicity,andoriginality)thatwerenecessarilyfamiliartocontemporaryreadersInasenseWordsworthwassimplygivingrhetoricalflighttodesideratathathadbeenoftrehearsed(ifne'ersowellexpressed)byanumberofplebeianpoetsandtheiradvocatesintheliteraryestablishmentWordsworth'ssilenceonthetopicofactualpeasantandlaboringclasswritersisstrikingonitsownterms,butevenmoresoinlightoftheincisive,aucourantculturalawarenessthatheclaimsforhimselfinthe"Preface"Helocateshispoetryinapreciseliteraryandsocialmoment,identifying"amultitudeofcausesunknowntoformertimes"(Prose,I,)thatgivehisprojectacompellingcontemporaryurgencySurveyingBritain'sliterarylandscapeandfindingonly"franticnovels,sicklyandstupidGermanTragedies,anddelugesofidleandextravagantstoriesinverse,"Wordsworthannouncesthat"atthepresentday"hiselementalistrusticpoetryis"especially"needed(Prose,I,)Inreadingthisdiagnosisofwhathecalls"thegeneralevil"(Prose,I,),wemustwonderabouthisapparentdisregardforthosemanyfigureswhowhatevertheirliterarymeritsdidinfactspeakmoreorlessdirectlyfromtheclassanddemographicpositionsthathepurportstofindunrepresentedinthecontemporarysceneIndeed,themoreonelearnsoffashionableengagementwith"peasant"and"uneducated"poets,themoreuntenableWordsworth'sfamousassessmentofBritain'sliteraryclimateseemstobecomeAlthoughweareaccustomedtothinkingofWordsworthasbreachingthefortressofeliteliterature,itisimportanttoconsiderthathealsobreachedtheimplicitclassboundariesofliteratureintheotherdirectionInappropriatinglowlyrusticvoicesandliteraryforms,hecouldbeseenasinvadingthedemographicdomainofpeasantwriters,occupyingtheclassspecificterritoryfromwhichtheyderivedtheirtenuous(andperhapsonly)artisticauthorityGrantingallofthesepoints,Iwanttomovebeyondthemandsuggestthatthewaytoapproachtherecoveryofthis"missing"rustictradition,insofarasitenablesareconsiderationofWordsworth'srusticpoetics,isnotthroughaninterpretivemodelofWordsworthiansolipsismorhistoricalrepressionRather,weneedtoplacethemotivesforWordsworth'selisionThiscontentdownloadedfromonTue,Jul::AMAllusesubjecttoJSTORTermsandConditionsWORDSWORTHANDPEASANTPOETRYoftheplebeiantraditionwithintheverypervasivenessandpowerofthattraditionForpeasantpoetrymadeWordsworth'spositionalmostimpossiblyawkwardasheattempted,intheyearsaroundioo,toestablishhimselfasapoetHewas,afterall,awriterofrusticversewhocouldnotprofesstobean"authentic"rustic,aselfavowedchampionof"thereallanguageofmen"("Preface,"inProse,I,i)whononethelesspresumedtogiveprioritytohisownidealofrusticspeechTheimperativesofhisownruralaestheticvisioncollidedsharplywithapreexistingvogueforsimplicityhecouldnotproperlyshape,andperhapsnotevenprofitablyacknowledgeContrarytotheclaimsofthe"Preface,"WordsworthdidnothavetocreateapublictasteforruralsubjectsandpseudohumbledictionInsteadhefacedthemoredifficulttaskofcreatingavitalrusticversethatwasdistinctfrompeasantpoetryWordsworth'sresponseinthe"Preface,"Ihavesuggested,istosubsumeordisplacethehistoricalpresenceofpeasantpoetrySeveralofthebestknownpoemsinLyricalBallads,however,engagehisproblemsofpersonaandoriginalityinwaysthatthe"Preface"doesnot:throughrepeated,willfulreenactmentsofthecontemporarydialoguebetweenhighandlowliterarymilieusInthesepoemsWordsworthdoesnotseektodisguisehimself,asJeffreywouldhaveusbelieve,asaversifyingrusticNordoeshepositionhimselfasasortofuiberpeasantpoet,seekingtooutdooreliminateallrivalsThesepoemsfindtheirinterest,theiroriginality,andtheircomplexityintheirpairingsofelevatednarratorswithlowlysubjectsThisrecurringdialecticyieldsarusticpoetryradicallyequivocalintone,narratorialperspective,andsocialidentificationIndramatizingthedilemmasandoptionsthatconfrontagentlemanlychroniclerof"lowandrusticlife,"Wordsworthestablishesboththecontemporaneity,andtheinnovation,ofhisverseThehistoryofBritishpeasantandlaboringclasspoetryisfarbetterunderstoodtoday,andfarbetterdocumented,thanitwasjustadecadeagoThoughthereisnotspaceheretodetailthenewlyavailableprimarymaterialsorThiscontentdownloadedfromonTue,Jul::AMAllusesubjecttoJSTORTermsandConditionsNINETEENTHCENTURYLITERATUREtherecentscholarshiponindividualpeasantwriters,somesenseofthedelicacyofWordsworth'ssituationcanbesuggestedbyconsideringthediscursivefieldthatexistedaroundpeasantpoetrybytheturnofthenineteenthcenturyWhilethisdiscursivefieldnecessarilyincludedthesheerpopularityofrusticverse,itisprobablybetterseeninthecomplexmodesofcriticalresponsethattheverseengenderedovertime:stereotyping,satire,cliche,andelaboratecircumventionsofclicheThefoundingidealofthelaborerpoeteventuallybecomesscaffoldedwithrevisionist,sometimesselfregardingaddenda,includingcautionaryfables,protestationsofcriticalcynicism,andselfparodyamongthepoetsthemselvesEvenabriefaccountofthesemovementsrevealsboththeculturalsaturationofthisverseandthecriticaltradition'sawarenessofitselfWemuststartwithasenseofpeasantpoetry'sgreatandenduringpopularity,afactthatwouldhavebeenpalpableandunavoidabletoWordsworthInoo,ashepreparedhissecondeditionofLyricalBallads,healsowitnessedtherunawaysuccessofanarrativepoemofSuffolkfarmlife,RobertBloomfield'sTheFarmer'sBoy,withsalesthatoverthreeyearswouldruntosometwentysixthousandcopies,"agreaternumberofanewpoemthanhadeverbeforebeensoldinsoshortatime"Butthereadingpublic'sfascinationwithBloomfieldwasonlythelatestinstallmentinanongoingaffairthathadbegunasfarbackas,when"ThresherPoet"StephenDuckgainedtheprefermentfromQueenCarolinethatmadesomeconsiderhimaseriouscandidatefortheLaureateshipInthedecadesthatfollowed,severaldozendiversewriterswerebroughtbeforepublicattentionundertherubricsof"peasant"and"uneducated"poet,includingRobertBurns,JamesWoodhouse,AnnYearsley,JamesHogg,andJohnClare,aswellasahostoffigureswhoenjoyedfarbrieferperiodsofcelebrityNearlyacenSee,forexample,DonnaLandry,TheMusesofResistance:LaboringClassWomen'sPoetryinBritain,(Cambridge:CambridgeUnivPress,o)andJohnGoodridge,RuralLifeinEighteenthCenturyEnglishPoetry(Cambridge:CambridgeUnivPress,)RaynerUnwin,TheRuralMuse:StudiesinthePeasantPoetryofEngland(London:GeorgeAllenandUnwin,),pAsamplingoffiguresobscureevenintheirday:RobertTatersal(fl),TheBricklayerMiscellany:orPoemsonseveralsubjects(London,)JohnFrederickBryant(),Verses,byJohnFrederickBryant,latetobaccopipemakeratBristol(London,ThiscontentdownloadedfromonTue,Jul::AMAllusesubjecttoJSTORTermsandConditionsWORDSWORTHANDPEASANTPOETRYturyafterDuck'sftingwefindColeridgecomplainingofreceivingastreamof"LettersfromLordsLadiesurgingmetowritereviewspuffsofheavenbornGeniuses,whosewholemeritconsistsintheirbeingPloughmenorShoemakers"(ColeridgeLetters,V,)Authenticitywasthesinequanonofthehypotheticalpeasantpoet,asissuggestedbyColeridge'sexasperationwiththenotionthatliterary"merit"sprangfromsimply"being"aploughmanorshoemakerBiographicalrepresentationstypicallystressedthepoet'scomprehensivepovertyofmeans:JohnClarewas"perhaps,theleastfavouredbycircumstances,andthemostdestituteoffriends,ofanyEnglishpoetthateverexisted"ThetruerusticsavantshouldhaveanabsoluteminimumofformaleducationandshouldbedemonstrablyengagedinignoblelaborCombined,thesetwosymptomsofrusticityencouragedanarrativeofastrenuousdoublelife,whereinthepoetdaily"returnedfromlabourtolearning,"asBurnswassaidtodo,"andfromlearningwentagaintolabour"Theodd,almostabsurdjuxtapositionsoftheautodidact'slifewerevividlyimaginedearlyon:thefrontispieceofapiratededitionofDuck'spoetryfeatureshim"inabarnwithaflailinonehandandacopyofMiltonintheotheranearbytablecontainsink,pens,paper,knife,rule,andbookshensarewanderingabout,andthroughthedoorappearsaviewofahogandlaborersreapinggrain""IThattheauthenticitytopossooftenrestedonconcreteorganicimagesdirtyhands,farmanimals,avocationaltietothesoilmeantthatitcarriedtheseedsofitsownsatirization)cobblerJohnLucas,Miscellaniesinverseandprose(Salisbury,)anddomesticservantsSusannahHarrison(),SongsintheNight:ByaYoungWomanunderdeepaffliction(),andMaryLeapor(),Poemsuponseveraloccasions,vols(London,)Acompositelistlikethisisnotmeanttosuggest,ofcourse,thatthesepoetslackdistinctvoicesorthattheirpoetryisevensimilarThephraseisthatofJohnTaylor,Clare'seditor,inhisintroductiontoPoemsDescriptive(),quotedinClare:TheCriticalHeritage,edMarkStorey(London:RoutledgeandKeganPaul,),pRobertHeron,AMemoiroftheLifeoftheLateRobertBurns(),quotedinRobertBurns:TheCriticalHeritage,edDonaldALow(London:RoutledgeandKeganPaul,),pIRoseMaryDavis,StephenDuck,theThresherPoet(Orono:UnivofMainePress,),pThiscontentdownloadedfromonTue,Jul::AMAllusesubjecttoJSTORTermsandConditionsNINETEENTHCENTURYLITERATUREalongAugustanlines"Whateverbeassumedastheoperativecause,"wroteacommentatorfortheGentleman'sMagazinein,"thefacthasrepeatedlyoflatebeensufficientlyevidenttotheworld,ofGeniusrising,asitwere,fromtheclodsandthedunghill"(quotedinClare:CriticalHeritage,p)TheunhappilynamedStephenDuckprovedaneasytargetforthepseudonymous"BenjaminDrake,Yeoman,"whosardonicallyapplaudedhimforhaving"wellwaddl'dthro'thecountrydirt"(ThresherPoet,p),aswellasforSwift,whoin"AQuibblingEpigram"()objectedloudlytotheroyalpatronagegrantedthethresherpoet:TheThresher,Duck,couldo'ertheQueenprevailTheproverbsays,noftnceagainstaflailFromthreshingcorn,heturnstothreshhisbrains,ForwhichherMajestyallowshimgrainsThough'tisconfest,thatthosewhoeversawHispoems,thinkthemallnotworthastraw!ThricehappyDuck,employedinthreshingstubble!Thytoilislessen'd,andthyprofitsdouble(quotedinThresherPoet,pp)Atooquickrise,apeasantortradesman"prevailing"overaQueen(andovermoreworthymembersoftheliteraryestablishment):

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Scott McEathron. Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads, and the Problem of Peasant Poetry

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