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The Wander's Return

Articles and essays based on a combined logocentric and intertextual approach to the study of literary texts with special attention given to words derived from the verbs to wander and wandern in English and German respectively The more one probes the meanings and implications of a word set within a poem the more one will discern in all that surrounds that word - the poem of which it is a part, literary tradition and whatever lies beyond.

My way is to begin with the beginning the regularity of my design forbids all wandering as the worst of sinning Lord Byron Don Juan, Canto 1, 7th stanza, lines 3-4 ****************************************************

If one were to fail to appreciate that Lord Byron had his tongue in his cheek when writing the lines cited above, one might conclude from them that he had adopted the posture of some university don of the stricter sort who demanded from his students a logical exposition of a given subject that would start from a clearly defined proposition containing exact definitions of all the terms contained in that position. Failure to do would amount to evidence of criminal intent. There are two ways of approach the task of ordering subject matter that one thinks important enough to present to potential readers or listeners. "Cogito ergo sum", "I think therefore I am," the dictum formulated by Ren Descartes, offers a perfect case of a statement that is both readily comprehensible and the starting-point of an extensive discourse, indeed one that marked a turning-point in the history of philosophy. We cannot be quite so sure about what served as the starting-point of Sir Isaac Newton's theory of gravitation. If that anecdotal apple really dropped on Sir Isaac's head while he was resting under an apple tree, pure chance spurred him on the course that led to his fully formulated theory of gravitation. There have also been discoveries that resulted from a false supposition. To cite one of the most famous cases of such a discovery, Christopher Columbus sailed to the Americas when he thought he was on route to India.

Wandering, a Phenomenon across Two Languages? The closing lines of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre ("Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship Years") point to the occurrence of inadvertant discoveries in the statement that Saul the son of Kish looked for his father's asses but found a kingdom. Faust, perhaps the greatest wanderer of all in modern world literature was the LORDS's servant in all his dark and erring ways as the Divine Voice prophesies in the "Prologue in Heaven" at the opening of Goethe's dramatic masterpieces Faust Part I and Faust Part II. Is he then to be compared with the Prodigal Son, who after straying far returns to his father's house? It is explicity as a "Wanderer" that Faust at last enters Heaven and in a rare convergence of literary opinion both the Goethe expert Professor L. A. Willoughby and the specialist in English Romanticism Geoffrey Hartman independently choose to call Faust a "Wanderer." A discussion of this topic follows. The road to discovery is open to those whose chief merit lies in their being on the move but not necessarily sure of their destination, of being wanderers, in other words. The discovery that a wandering seeker comes across by chance may lead in the end to the completion of a scholarly paper, perhaps even momentous new theory if his or her discovery leads on to a thorough search for the underlying the phenomenon in question. There will be no lack of opportunities to correct any initial wrong assumptions along the way. The process that has lead to the production of this series of essays entitled The Wanderer Returns started with that fall of an apple referred to above when it struck me that the same family words appeared with noticeable frequency in the works of Goethe as in those of contemporary Romantic writers in England as well in the German-speaking areas of Europe. I asked myself whether I was seeing things or whether I had encountered some momentous cross-language phenomenon that demanded further enquiry. The group of words in question are found in works written in German and English and they are derivatives of two cognate verbs sharing the same etymological root, namely "wandern" and "to wander." Future references to this phenomenon will be to wandering. "The Wanderer" in Literary Articles Written by Professor L,A. Willoughby, Geoffrey Hartman and Harold Bloom In this as in other enquiries into matters of literature one should consult the findings of those who have already engaged in research in the field one intends to investigate. Regretably there is as yet no chair in the field of Wandering Studies. Professor Willoughby 's article in Etudes Germanique 1 documented at great length evidence that the frequency and prominence of the word "Wanderer" in Goethe's literary works, often in proximity with the word "Htte," hut or cottage, calls for an explanation, which he finds in the

L.A. Willoughby, "The Image of the 'Wanderer' and the 'Hut' in Goethe's Poetry" (Etudes Germaniques, 3, Autumn 1951).

pervasive influence of the Collective Unconscious postulated by Carl Gustav Jung. Willoughby does not consider reasons why the ubiquitous and pervasive Collective Unconscious should only penetrate Goethe's mind in the latter half of the eighteenth century and not everybody else's. In accordance with Jung's theory the libidinal urge seeks union with the anima, the female principle vested in the unconscious. In Willoughby's view this quest has relevance to the course of Goethe's life. The wanderer seeks to reconcile two inner drives, the masculine urge to philander and explore with the urge to find his bride, marry and found a family, by extension, to be an active member of society. As we can judge from reading the novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship") the characters created by Goethe's imagination tend to fall into the category of the wanderer with a social mission such as the central and purposeful protagonist Wilhelm Meister or distraught and socalled "romantic" wanderers such as Mignon and the Harper. Why did Willoughby refer to "romantic" wanderers before the genesis of the Romantic movement in Germany, which the publication of the Lehrjahre did much to bring about? I shall return to this question in due course. The combined 'images' of "the wanderer" and "the hut" marked stages along Goethe's literary career. From the time of his return to Frankfurt in 1770 after his first student years in Leipzig the prominence of the word "Wanderer" in his "Rede zum Shakespeares Tag" ("Speech on the Occasion of Shakespeare's Day"), in "Wandrers Sturmlied," in the dramatic fragment entitled Der Wanderer and in Die Leiden des jungen Werthers betrayed Goethe's deep anxieties during that phase in his life when he sought to clarify the relationship between himself and the imaginative and creative forces working within him. This is nowhere more apparent when we consider the twofold association of the word "Wanderer" that emerges at the time he composed "Die Rede zum Shakespeares Tag." In this Shakespeare is given the name of the greatest "wanderer" ("der grsste Wandrer") on the strength of the vast scope of the scenes and characters depicted in his dramatic works. Members of the literary circle that met at the home of Ephraim Herder in Darmstadt, recognized in the word "Wanderer" Goethe's byname, for he was already celebrated as the wanderer on account of his long walks beteen Frankfurt and Darmstadt through wind and weather. Indeed, his experience of walking through woodland in a storm provided the basis of "Wandrers Sturmlied," a poem telling of a wanderer's attempt to scale Mount Parnassus, the home of the Muses, only to stall in flight and land in a flow of mud through which he must wade towards the shelter offered by a wayfarer's hut. This work full of selfmockery occasioned such embarrassment that Goethe long delayed its publication and even when he allowed this he referred to the poem as merely the babbling he had needed to keep up his spirits despite its worth as a magnificent expression of Goethe's poetic genius. The Wanderer-hut linkage noted by Willoughby is again evident in Der Wanderer, a verse

dialogue between a wandering tourist in the vicinity of Cuma in south Italy and a young wife and mother who inhabits a humble dwelling ("Htte")made from the the blocks of stone that were once part of an ancient Greek temple. The element of dramatic presentation in this work detached the figure of the wanderer from any explicit reference to Goethe himself and so obviated the danger of self-exposure incurred by "Wandrers Sturmlied." The association of "the Wanderer" and "the hut" recurs in Urfaust and later in Faust Part I, for Faust confessed that his impetuous and willful disruption of the domestic idyll symbolized by Gretchen's cottage ("Httchen") was tantamount to the physical destruction of her humble abode. Willoughby finds in Faust's seemingly callous order to demolish the cottage of an elderly married couple in Faust Part II, completed in Goethe's final years, a recall of Faust's destruction of Gretchen's cottage. In the scene that depicts Faust as he is about to enter Heaven through the intercession of Gretchen transformed into Mary Magdalene, the marginal references name him the "Wanderer." The final lines "Das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan," ("the Eternal Feminine draws us on high") we find a clear anticipation of the theories of Jung and Freud to which I have made reference. Goethe pioneered the discovery of what we now term the subconscious mind. In "The Image of the 'Wanderer' and the 'hut' in Goethe's Poetry" Professor Willoughby claimed that the "image" referred to in the title of his article pervaded Goethe's dramatic and poetic works, even informing the entire structure of the lengthy dramas Faust Part I and Faust Part II. (1) To my mind the idea of such an all-pervading "image" is almost a selfcontradiction. After all, the literary term of image is itself a metaphor. In the sense defined by Ezra Pound a poetic "image" is unique and hence incapable of reduplication.2 Such an image produces a mental picture which can be apprehended in a single act of perception, as with the perception of an object in real life. Indeed, "the image of the wanderer" belies the expectation of discovering the crisp contours of an object or an intense vision the diffuse and vague associations of wandering, which in any case denotes an action or abstraction rather than a visible or tangible entity. Later consider limitations of terms favoured by modern critics which whatever their merets prove inade to answer the questions raised by the phenomen of wandering in literature. In his article "Romanticism and 'Anti-Self-consciousness",' in Romanticism and 3 Consciousness, Geoffrey H. Hartman interprets central figure in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner as "the Wanderer" or "the Wandering Jew," a symbol representing the modern poet as one afflicted by an excess of self-consciousness and with an acute need to find relief from this burden. As the word "wanderer" is not found in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Hartman's approach does not involve a close regard for occurrences of particular
2 3

Ezra Pound, "Vorticism," Fortnightly Review (Sept. 1914). Geoffrey H. Hartman, "Romanticism and 'Anti-Self-consciousness",' Romanticism and Consciousness, ed. Harold Bloom (New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 1970), 46.

words found within the texts of poems or works in other genres; it identifies "the wanderer" on the basis of a received typology associating the word wanderer with Cain and the Wandering Jew. Hartman joins Willoughby in assigning the name of wanderer to the Faust of Goethe but evidently not on the basis of any attention given to the word "Wanderer." In his essay "The Internalization of Quest-Romance" Harold Blood arrives at conclusions that agree with Hartman's analysis of the crisis of self-consciousness in English Romanticism but does so with no mention of the word "Wanderer." 4 Bloom contends that Romantic poetry underwent a process of maturation and "internalization" involving a transition from poertry of the kind that reflected attempts to address such external matters as justice in the social and political realms to poetry that is subservient to aesthetic exigences imposed by the quest of the libido to achieve perfect harmony with the object of its quest in a state comparable to an ideal marriage and the fulfillment of pure love in keeping with a Freudian understanding of psychology, The works of Wordsworth and Blake come in for special praise as forms of poetry that exemplify the achievent of a perfect union of the libido and the anima postulated in the theories of Sigmund Freud. 5 Bloom claims to have located the exact juncture in the final lines of Blake's Jerusalem when this perfect union was achieved. Once English poetry had reached a pinnacle of perfection and harmony that all subsequent works of poetry would prove incapable of surpassing, the death or at least the stagnation of poetry was inevitable. Realizing this, Hartman argues, Goethe in his later years concentrated his literary efforts on prose works, as prose remained the only progressive form of language that writers of literature had left.6 Do we not hear echoes of an essay that provoked Shelley's A Defence of Poetry, Thomas Love Peacock's dismissal of poetry as an outmoded genre out of keeping with the progress and rationality of the modern age?

Harold Bloom, "The Internalization of Quest-Romance," in The Yale Review, Vol. LVIII, No. 4 (Summer, 1969). 5 Harold Bloom,"The Internalization of Quest-Romance." in Romanticism and Consciousness: Essays in Criticism, ed. Harold Bloom (NY: WW Norton,1970), 6,7. "Modern poetry, in English, is the invention of Blake and Wordsworth, and I do not know of a long poem written in English since which is as legitimately difficult or as rewardingly profound as Jerusalem or The Prelude. Nor can I find a modern lyric, however happily ignorant its writer, which develops beyond or surmounts its debt to Wordsworths great trinity of Tintern Abbey, Resolution and Independence, and the Intimations of Immortality ode."

Geoffrey Hartman ," "Romanticism and Anti-Self-Consciousness," Beyond Formalism / Literary Essays 1958-1970 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press,1970), 310. "The future belonged to the analytic spirit, to irony, to prose. The death of poetry had certainly occurred to the Romantics in idea, and Hegel's prediction of it was simply the overt expression of their own despair,"

The fact that Willoughby and Hartman both refer to Faust as a "wanderer" conveys the implication that the Wanderer with all the unstated associations and implications of this word is a unitary phenomenon that transcends the barrier that normally divides one language from another. If this is so, it is clear that Goethe was the principal actor in promoting the fusion of the English and German literary traditions. Apart from their decision to place high significance on the Wanderer and their common assertion that this wanderer represents the libinal energy impelling the animus in the unconscious striving for union with the anima, Willoughby and Hartman entertain contrasting critical approaches. Willoughby's. interest in "the Wanderer" was prompted by the recognition that Goethe made frequent and conspicuous use of the word. Hartman recognized in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - a poem in which the word "wanderer" is nowhere to be found - an archetype on the basis of a received typology associating "the wanderer" with Cain, the Wandering Jew and the pilgrimage through life. He does not pay close attention to the language of the text and the words that compose it I believe both approaches we have considered, the logocentric (word-oriented) and the typological, are valid in our research into wandering. The one ensures a close regard for textual study, the other the opportunity of considering the phenomenon beyond the span of English and German literature. Whenever possible, we should integrate both approaches. It is also worth noting that as yet we have considered "the Wanderer" both as a word frequently encountered in the works of a great poet and one that is prominent in the exposition of a renowned literary critic. Our study allows us the opportunity of investigating the reciprocal relationship between author and critic, and wandering has a lot to do with reciprocity and interaction. However there is one factor that Willoughby and Hartman ignore, and that factor is history. it is remarkable that neither Willoughby nor Hartman considers the historical context of wandering. The one takes as his operative context the works of Goethe as a mirror of his mind and relates the cohesive "image" of the wanderer to the Collective Unconscious, something which transcends any one historical period altogether. Hartman implies that the burdensome self-consciousness to which he refers simultaneously affected all poets living in the same age but he does not explain why. There is a great gulf separating the aegis of one indivual's mind and an entire epoch. A Parellel between Two Periods of Great Historical Change One can hardly view any phenomenon within a historical vacuum without straying into areas where one makes statements that are verifiably inaccurate as when Willoughby refers to "romantic" wanderers before the historical advent of Romanticism. Can we find a parallel in history that takes into account that some person made a discovery in answer not only to a personal need but also to the as yet unformulated need of an entire generation? How about Martin Luther?

In Martin Luther we find a comparable case of a person who ingested the material of the unresolved debates and latent tendences of his times, internalized them during a phase of deep personal soul searching and formulated an answer instilled in a single phrase, "the Just shall live by faith," that enabled his beliefs to be propagated to a world ready to receive his message. On the basis of the new message divisions and controversies arose such as those which separated Luther and Thomas Mnzer. Major historical developments do not arise out of the blue. They release the pressure that has built up over time. Just as the Reformation was the culmination of a trend that is evident in the life and influence of John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, so Goethe condensed in the word "Wanderer" the essence of what he had gathered from the writings of Klopstock, Edward Young and Oliver Goldsmith. With the analogy between Goethe and Luther in mind we can readily perceive close parallels between two very different revolutions. After returning from Leipzig and meeting Herder in Strasburg young Goethe discovered the greatness of Shakepeare and the writings of Edward Young, Laurence Sterne and James Macpherson's supposed translation of a medieval saga Ossian. Until his encounter with Herder he had ingested the literature of ancient Greece and accepted the conventions of Aristotelianism so doughtily defended by Johann Christoph Gottsched. The cry for authorial freedom from artificial conventions found expression in the Rede zum Shakespeares Tag ("Speech commemorating Shakespeare's Birthday"), in which Shakespeare is declared to be "the greatest of all wanderers" and the word "Wanderer," interspersed though Goethe's subsequent writings in key positions, permeates his works from then on until the close of his life. The propagation of the word "wanderer" as a synonym of the modern poet began in earnest in the 1790s in Germany with the publication of Goethe's seminal novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrejahre and in England with William of Norwich's translation of Der Wandrer as "The Wanderer." The German Romantics gleefully accepted from Goethe the word "Wanderer" as a designation of the modern poet free from literary convention but rejected the linkage of this "Wanderer" with the thought of any obligation to serve society in a practical and useful manner. The Pendulum of Influence between English and German Poets and Writers I return the question raised earlier. In effect Willoughby held that Goethe condemned his own "romantic" characters, the Harper and Mignon, almost implying that Goethe was a Romantic himself. It can well be argued that Goethe had a Romantic side to his personality in contention with his other self with its allegiance to classicism and a stable and responsible social order. Friedrich Gundolf, a Jewish professor and one of the leading lights in the academic world during the era of the Weimar Republic and incidentally a mentor of Joseph Goebbels, even suggested that by contrasting erratic characters who suffer an untimely tragical end against hardy survivors, the

representatives of the prevailing social order or the victorious party, 7 Werther against Albert, Tasso against Antonio or Egmont against William of Orange, Goethe revealed the interplay between two sides of the human psyche, one might say, between daytime consciousness and dreamlike states of consciousness in tune with the spirit of the night. One of the deepest implications of wandering concerns the reciprocal relationship between these states of consciousness. The new status enjoyed by the word "wanderer" and other derivatives of to wander did not result from a sudden and one-sided intrusion of German influence into England. It can be explained as the movement of a pendulum swinging to and fro. During the second half of the eighteenth century the currents of literary influences that pertained between England and the German cultural area in continental Europe reversed its direction. First the path of influence flowed decidedly from England to the German-speaking lands of Europe, a fact reflected by Goethe's early delight in readings in English literature prompted by the encouragement and guidance of Ephraim Herder, who initiated Goethe into a deep appreciation of Shakespeare's plays, Percy's Reliques, a collection of ancient ballads and folksongs, Macpherson's Ossian, purportedly a translation of a Gaelic saga, not to forget Oliver Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield and the poetic travelogue entitled The Traveller. The last named work anticipates the Romantic wanderer in so far as the speaker imbues his descriptions of the places and scenes that he visits as a tourist on a grand tour of European centres of culture with a great measure of personal reflexion, yet he falls short of being a true Romantic as he is still held back from becoming so by his attachment to the fast fading, yet not quite extinct, Augustan ideal of an harmonious golden age rooted in classical antiquity. Goethe himself confronted the question how the word traveller should be rendered in German on two occasions, if we agree with Jonathan Wordsworth that Goethe enthusiasm Goldsmith's The Traveller is reflected in the title of Der Wandrer. 8 "The traveller" also becomes "der Wanderer" in Werther's outcry "Der Wanderer wird kommen, kommen" as these words originate in Goethe's translation of a passage from Ossian in which there are the words "Tomorrow shall the traveller come." When translating "Der Wanderer" into English, William of Norwich did not revert to the use of the word of "traveller," any more than Longfellow did when translating

Friedrich Gundolf, "Wilhelm Meisters Theatralische Sendung," Goethe, (Berlin, 1916), 345.

Jonathan Wordsworth, The Music of Humanity (New York / Evanston, 1969).

"Wandrers Nachtlied" as "Wanderer's Nightsongs." The reason why "Wanderer" remained in English, as in German, the word to designate the poet and poetry should become clearer in subsequent discussions. Wandering, a Stumbling Block for Internal (New) Criticism? If wandering as understood in terms of the present discussion spans so wide a field as one that covers literature written by Goethe and the English Romantics, it may seem odd that literary critics have been blind to the fact. M. H. Abrams argues in the introduction of the Mirror and the Lamp 9 that the modern perception of the nature of poetry focusses on "the work" rather than the author of "the work." In the Romantic period the question of the status of the poet was the matter of overriding concern. A reaction against the supposed aggrandizement of the poet at the expense of a close examination of the intrinsic value of individual poems set in during the twentieth century and led to the rise of New Criticism and other schools of opinion that denied that poetry made any significant statements about the worlds of history, society or even the personal attitudes of those who composed poetry. The normal function of language to refer to such realities was seen to have no part in the words that composed any poetic work. Words in this analysis were no more than the raw material that should be fashioned into images, symbols, quasi-musical effects, essentially into entities based on analogies drawn from the non-verbal arts of painting, music and sculpture. There have been many learned expositions and definitions as to the exact characteristics of images, motifs, conceits, allegories and personae, but one thing is for sure. Poems are made of words. The Relevance of Theories Put Forward by Ferdinand de Saussure and Jurij Tynjanov As we shall observe in the following pages viz.: Part I, Section A. in this study, some critics, such as Frank Kermode and Kenneth Burke question the doctrine concerning the exclusive singularity and isolated status of the work. The crux of the matter lies in language itself. Can there be a radical separation of poetic language and the language of common use? What contexts lend significance to a word in a poetic work? What approach to literature then, if any, can supply correctives to blind spots of the kind I have mentioned? I believe this to reside the logocentric theory based on Ferdinand de Saussure's distinction between langue and parole and on subsequent applications and modifications of this theory worked out by leading exponents of Russian Formalism, particulary by J. Tynjanov, and R. Jakobson. I seek to justify this claim at some length in the following chapter. However certain salient points arising from a consideration of a logocentric approach to reading literature can be outlined as follows.

M. H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp, Romantic Theory and Romantic Tradition (London/Oxford/New York, 1953).


As a manfestation of what Ferdinand de Saussure terms langue, all forms of language, including the language of poets, consists of words that can be listed in a dictionary and are subject to the laws of grammar. There can be no absolute and radical separation of poetic language from language in general. As a manifestation of parole every utterance of language, spoken or written, poetic or non-poetic, is specific and unique, for even if the same word should be repeated, its context has changed. Like the river in the philosophy of Heraclitus a word in a poem can never occur twice within a textual stream. We remember how the word "honourable" gained ever more negative resonances in Mark Antony's funeral oration in Julius Caesar! The unique quality of a poem does not rule out its participation in the world outside itself, for it belongs to a historical tradition and to the contemporary world in keeping with de Sauussure's distinction between the diachronic and synchronic planes of language, which intersect in any occurrence of a word within a text. There is no need to purchase high praises for one poem at the expense of all others or hold that once some poetic achievement has reached a point of perfection all future poetic works fall obsolete. Wandering with its blurred contours and indeterminate meanings is anathema and a stumbling block to those who see no worth in words as such unless, as Ezra Pound and his fellow Imagists would have it, they yield some clear image or symbolic value, but despite it all wandering comes into its own as the word chosen by poets to encapsulate their art. Contexts It follows from the premises defined by de Saussure and elaborated by Tynjanov and Roman Jakobson (see next section) that the occurrence of a word in a poetic work partakes in a unity constituted by all words that are recogizably similar to it in outward appearence and essential meaning. While any word in poetry may convey a meaning that accords with its immediate surroundings, its "immediate context," so to speak, all potential significances of the greater word are latent within it and come to light increasingly as one sets the word within other contexts, the work to which it belongs, the entire body of works of the author (Goethe according to Willoughby's analysis reviewed above) and poetic tradition. Let us consider each of these contexts in turn. Teachers often advise their students to consider a word's context in order to understand the meaning of the word, especially if this word has a number of different definitions in a dictionary. We instinctively and often unconsciously choose the appropriate meaning of word when reading a newspaper. We ignore the immense potential of significance that resides in any word in order not to lose track of the sequential logic of whatever message or narrative we are dealing with, that is until we come across some witty pun or play on language. This way of reading normally allows us to make sense of a poem except in cases where there is no logical narrative to go on as in "Altarwise by Owl-Light" by Dylan Thomas. Even when words in poems seem to have a straight unambiguous meaning, something about them creeks, as though they were subject to some torque or


undercurrent lurking beneath the surface of some storyline or overt statement. Let us take the example of lines from Byron's poem cited above. "All wandering is the worst of sinning." According to the logic of the context based on the speaker's purpose to give an orderly chronological account of Juan's life, and so here "wandering" means digressing from the subject at hand, but how can such a digression be regarded as a moral digression, sinning? In a different context wandering can well be understood as a reference to sinning, often with a sexual innuendo. In Tynjanov's terms the primary meaning of wandering is coloured by a secondary meaning of "wandering" that in the normal way would be overlooked unless the speaker indulged in a pun or similar form of verbal play. It is when we consider wandering in a wider contexts, those supplied by the environing work and by literary tradition, that a deep structure inhering in the verb to wander comes to light. The second context for us to consider is the one circumscribed by the work in which a word such as Wanderer is found. It is not sufficient to determine only the meaning or even the range of meanings of this word; one has also to regard its position within the text and the associations it forms in conformity with the structural and aesthetic demands of the poem. To delete a word from a poem would be tantamount to chipping off part of statue or cutting out a detail from a picture. Those belonging to the Contextualist school of literary criticism argue that each word in a poem is a unique constituent of a work of art and cannot then be part of a whole greater than the poem itself. For such a reason Calvin Brown would have it that Walt Whitman's "When Lilacs First in the Dooryard Bloom'd" is not really an expression the author's deep love for Abraham Lincolm but rather that the idea of Abraham Lincoln as a great man serves only to underpin the structural organisation of the work. The third context amounts to the entire body of works written by an author in line with Professor Willoughby's article discussed earlier. A sole regard for the unity of works written by one author has its limitations. An author's works do not exist in vacuo. A critic who adopts this limited view inevitably brushes up against the wider contexts of the author's contemporary situation and of literary tradition and is then likely to make some faux pas such as when Professor Willoughby uses the term "romantic" as a fitting epithet for Mignon and the Harper. Those who regard the works of an author to the exclusion of any other so may end up psychoanalysing their patient, as when David Holbrook, a wellknown biographer of Dylan Thomas, scoured Thomas's poetry to discover the root cause of his alcoholism.10


n David Holbrook, The Code of Night (London: Athlone Press, 1972). M. H. Abrams,

The Mirror and the Lamp, (London/Oxford/New York, 1953).







The fourth context is constituted by tradition arising from intertextual references made one poet makes to another. T. S. Eliot posited a unitary all-encompassing power of tradition to which individual poets contribute the benefits of their talent thus furthering tradition and even slightly altering it. Northrop Frye believes that all works of literature form a vast unity at their anagogic level but that even this totality is detached from history and the non-literary world just as surely as a poem is isolated from all things external according to the Contextualists. The dogmatic insistence of proponents of New Critics and others that poetry is an isolated autonomous zone hermetically sealed off from all outside influences seems to reflect the negative omniscience of a quasi-religion and so one should not be unduly surprised by any reference made by certain critics to "heresies." Talk of "heresy" might lead some one to araign New Criticism as a form of Gnosticism. Even the intertextual approach must be treated with care if it is not to cloud the perception of individual poems but, if well managed, it encourages a deep appreciation of what lies within any poem, which always remains the base from which comparative excursions depart and to which they return in the to and fro which counts among the various structural aspects of wandering. Myth and History As we can judge from reading the section entitled "The Mythos of Summer Romance" in Anatomy of Criticism, Northrop Frye views wandering in a totally negative light, even in the face of its positive aspects as seen by Saint Paul and John Milton, as in their assessment wandering entails gaining experience, whether understood as that which embraces the brief life of an individual and the common life of mankind throughout history. It is no accident that the Wanderer's apocalyptic vision of fallen humanity manifested in "London" by William Blake belongs to the cycle of poems entitled "Songs of Experience." For all their apparent differences Goethe and Blake averred the necessity of a union between art and experience and the necessity of progress driven by the tension generated by polarities. For Frye there can be little if any any scope for true progress, only the closure of circles within circles in the mind, but it is not altogether the case clear what this mind is supposed to be. His great emphasis on the term "myth" begs a question. Can a myth be extricated from history? Sir James George Frazer and Robert Graves have afforded voluminous evidence that it cannot. As Erich Auerbach points out the mythical and dreamy sense of time characterizes Greek literary tradition in contrast to the more concrete earthbound perspective of one living tensely on the edge of the present moment in the Hebrew or biblical tradition. Milton conflated the Greek Muse with the Holy Spirit in the opening lines of Paradise Lost, which suggests that Milton sought to integrate the biblical and Homeric traditions, and with them, their implicit attitudes to time consciousness. The Romantics, as ever in Milton's ban, followed suit.


It is notable that in Goethe's poems in which the wandering motif is central, most notably in "Wandrers Sturmlied" and Der Wandrer, the classical Greek world is ever present in descriptions of walking excursions that Goethe had experienced or wished to experience himself. Ultimately the need to harmonize the Greek sense of time with an author's vivid reminiscences of walks and travels spings from the interaction of the part of the mind that dreams and the part which contends with daily living. Even "I wondered lonely as a cloud," in the opinion of Frank Pottle at least, combines the Greek legend of Narcissus with a country walk in the Lake District. 11 Wandering journeys take more time to talk or write about that short dashes or horse rides that usually betoken the transcience of human life. Yet the end is inevitable even if postponed for a while. but is this end to be a point of closure or just a breakdown? Thinking in terms of a pilgrimage adds shape to in a way that other accounts of a journey do not. This emerges when we compare works by the same author. Bunyan is world famous thanks to The Pilgrim's Progress, but not to The Holy War, which is based on the static image of a city under siege. A Personal Note and an Introduction to the Pied Piper of Hamelin Any work of literature and even a discourse on literature, is in some a journey that pursues a wandering course. The origin of my interest in German literature was fostered in the days long ago l though studied German at the feet of Professors Leonard Forster and Elisabeth Wilkinson. After a long interruption the logocentric method I came to adopt developed much later in life in response to the challenge presented by the phenomenon I call "wandering;" the reawakening of my interest in Goethe and with this the turning of my attention to the word "Wanderer" goes back to the time I attended a seminar under the supervision of the learned scholar and translator of Goethe's poems Christopher Middleton at the University of Texas at Austin. However my awareness of the polysemy and peculiarity of poetic language was awakened by one of those unexpected chance events that i earlier likened to the fall of the apple that hit Isaac Newton on the head. I go back many years now to a time when I became an avid reader of two poets whose works seem to have little in common, namely Dylan Thomas and Robert Browning. Though generally considered a difficult poet, even a wilfully obscure one, Dylan Thomas wrote a number of poems with a wide appeal, among them Fern Hill. This owes much of its popularity no doubt to Thomass skillful evocation of a lost innocent childhood replete with reminiscences of the days Dylan as a child spent in the Edenic setting of Fern Hill, a farm owned by an aunt of his. After reading and then rereading the poet, I was eventually

Frederick A. Pottle, "The Eye and the Object in the Poetry of Wordsworth" in Romanticism and Consciousness, ed. Harold Bloom (New York, 1970), 273-287. Originally in Yale Review. Vol. (Autumn 1951).


struck by lines in the work that I felt must be allusions to the Pied Piper, a legendary figure known to many in the English-speaking world through their acquaintance with Robert Brownings The Pied Piper of Hamelin. Hence the linkage of Dylan Thomas and Robert Browning in my mind. A comparison and contrast of their poetry proved interesting with, on the one hand, the obscure agglomeration of words yielding no logical sense in such a poem as "Altarwise by Owl-Light" by the Welshman, and the lucid, easily read verses of the Englishman, on the other. Or was all this so straightforward and simple? Having confronted some of the complexities and ambiguities in Thom ass poems, I sensed that under the smooth surface of a seemingly plain narrative, Brownings poems harboured far from obvious meanings and allusions if only by the juxtaposition of words irrespective of the sense that is expected to conform to their immediate context. Deeper implications of words were suggested to my mind by deviations from what in prose would constitute a good style. In this a repetition of the same word in the same sentence jars, but in Brownings "By the Fire-Side" there is the line we crossed the bridge we crossed before. In "The Pied Piper.." I read "He never can cross that mighty top." If such an expression were found a passage of prose, a one would probably question how one "can cross a mighty top", though one might surmount or circumvent the daunting peak of a mountain. Could the word "cross" have possessed for Browning a transcendent significance irrespective of its immediate justification within a certain context? But what is a "context." At that time I had no clear answer to that question. Another question intrigued me. What is the historical basis of the story? The question had me scouting the heights near Coppenbrgge only about ten miles from Hamelin. The resultant findings are recorded in Part II of this collection of essays. To find a connection between this haunting figure and the phenomenon of wandering the theories of Jung will again come to our aid. Conclusion We have noted in the articles by Willoughby and Hartman a strong connection between wandering and psychology. Willoughby refers wandering to the collective unconscious, Hartman to excessive selfconsciousness. Neither Willoughby nor Hartman construct a comprehensive framework in which to place the Wanderer, the central importance of which they mutually but independently recognize, for this framework would have to be based on an understanding of the interaction between the unconscious and conscious functions of the mind, and wandering even in common usage implies reciprocity and interaction. The wanderer is a seeker whose physical movements or mental animadversions spring from the inner life of the mind, and objects encountered along the way are significant to this wanderer only to the extend that they correspond to something already present within that mind. Wandering implies a mind-body relationship, which is one reason why wandering is a stumbling block to all those who deny a vital connection between literature and the experience drawn from life, whether the life of an individual or the


common life of humanity as manifested in the course of history and the mythologies inseparable from it. As history stands to collective learning, so mythology stands to collective dreaming, which means myths and history interlock inseparably as do dreams and learning in ordinary life. Thus it is fitting this study begins with a close scrutiny of words such as wanderer viewed their contextual setting in ever broader environments, from that found in a sentence to that compounded by literary tradition, even ending with an enquiry into the relationship between myth and history, but even this quest reveals an essential aspect of what wandering is all about.

NB: The following essays were written a various times over many years and the order in which they are presented in no way corresponds to the sequence of the times when they were composed. As some of them are self-contained articles, certain explanations and references recur in this collection.