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The Romantic Imagination

- John Lockes Essay Concerning Human Understanding tendency to fall into error < man must analyse
the power of understanding with a view to discovering his limits dismissing the idea that we !ring into the
world "primary notions already imprinted on our minds #tabula rasa$ %& 'lake re(ection of innate
ideas) *+an !rings ,ll that he has or can have into the world with him-&
- .,//I01 understanding passivity of sense-perception #%ordsworth2 3oleridge$
- /ensation and reflection everyone *sees the same thing- vs& 'lake *every eye sees differently-2 *as
the 1ye2 such the o!(ect-
- I transcending agency #the 4antian view$2 capacity to see into the life of things #.latonic view$ what
is imagines !eyond the senses poetry gives some I5TI+,TI65 of a transcendental or supersensi!le
777 The Romantics focus on the workings of the mind in imagining vs& Lockes theory focus on the o!(ect
of imagination concerned more with dragons and the like
.erception and imagination
- < Joseph ,ddisons Pleasures of the Imagination #898:$) sight as *the most delightful of our senses-
- The world of sense-perception as opposed to the supernatural
- %hat grows organically as opposed to a man-made artefact
- %hat happens spontaneously vs& what is la!oured or organi;ed <<< %ordsworths poetry
- Natura naturans nature as active2 dynamic2 in constant process of change and renewal ,/ 6..6/1=
T6 natura naturata fro;en2 su!(ect to scientific investigation
- 5ature is something in which we participate
- The .oetic or .rophetic #'lake$ perceptions not !ounded !y the limitations of sense2 !ut an infinite
desire and the possession of that desire are "infinite) *0ision or Imagination is a Representation of what
1ternally e>ists2 Really and ?nchangea!ly- I not part of nature2 !ut a precondition with which we
approach nature
- 3oleridges .RI+,R@ ,5= /1365=,R@ I+,AI5,TI65) .I B *the living power and prime agent
of human perception-2 "the repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I
,+- /I B differs only in its mode of operation *it dissolves2 diffuses2 dissipates in order to recreate-
I as a divine gift2 reflecting the creative powers of Aod esemplastic power of I forms the many into
- 4eats creative power of the I in a .latonic sense #like 'lakes$ it transforms our vision of this world
rather than point to another
- /helley IB 'eauty descending from a spiritual reality #aesthetic function of I$
- I B divine2 source of activity #'lake$2 central faculty of man
- +ind like *a lamp- #+&C& ,!rams$2 not *a mirror- #5eoclassical$
- /ource of !eauty in the human mind #*Cymn to Intellectual 'eauty-2 *6de on a Arecian ?rn-$
- I B instrument of moral good #/helley$
- +ediating power of I through senses and affections D e>ternal world < moral !eauty #.latonic$
%ordsworth meditation part of the poetic process
- Ideali;ation a form of escapism2 su!(ective view of reality
- .oetic composition precludes deli!eration e>pression of the self