Winter 1946 • Vol. VIII No. 1 NonfictionJanuary 1, 1946 |

The Intimations of the Ode (Reconsiderations V)

Wordsworth's great "Intimations Ode" has been for so long intimately connected with Wordsworth's own autobiography, and indeed, Wordsworth's poems in general have been so consistently interpreted as documents in the history of that autobiography, that to consider one of his larger poems as an object in itself may actually seem impertinent. Yet to do so for once at least is not to condemn the usual mode of procedure and it may, in fact, have positive advantages. Wordsworth's spiritual history is admittedly important: it is just possible that it is ultimately the important thing about Wordsworth. And yet the poems are structures in their own right; and, finally, I suppose, Wordsworth's spiritual biography has come to have the importance which it has for us because he is a poet. At any rate, it may be interesting to see what happens when one considers the Ode as a poem, as independent poetic structure even to the point of forfeiting the light which his letters, his notes, and his

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Cleanth Brooks (October 16, 1906—May 10, 1994) was an American literary critic and professor, best known for his publications, The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry (1947) and Modern Poetry and the Tradition (1939). Brooks is said to have revolutionized the teaching of poetry in American higher education and was also a prominent critic of Southern literature as well as the co-founder of The Southern Review.

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Wordsworth's great "Intimations Ode" has been for so long intimately connected with Wordsworth's own autobiography, and indeed, Wordsworth's poems in general have been so consistently interpreted as documents in the […]

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