Towards a Reading of Wordsworth’s ‘Now ye meet in the cave’

Hughes, John D (2015) Towards a Reading of Wordsworth’s ‘Now ye meet in the cave’. Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. ISSN 1916-1441 (In Press)

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Abstract

Wordsworth’s very early “Now ye meet in the cave” (dating from 1786 or a little later) is a strange fragment. It emanates from a desperate, unidentified speaker and bears on the burial of a mysterious female whose death is yet uncertain. It has been largely passed over by critics, with the exception of Duncan Wu - who suggested the poem might be about Wordsworth’s mother. This article follows this intuition, and explores common features of language and theme with a range of works of Wordsworth’s early youth. The conclusion is that “Now ye meet in the cave” is a significant document, and expresses fundamental, yet inevitably covert, facets of Wordsworth’s sensibility. In broadening this case, the article relates a final close reading of the poem to two important, inter-related contexts. The first is Stanley Cavell’s discussion of Romantic scepticism as a metaphysical fantasy involving the refusal of finitude, and a suspended sense of the world’s existence. The second references recent research in Child Psychology that demonstrates the automatic unconscious fantasy of a young orphaned child who affectively bargains his knowledge of his parent’s death for the belief that she still somehow is incorporated, within himself, and within nature.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Wordsworth, William 1770-1850; Literature
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR401 Modern > PR451 19th century
P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR500 Poetry
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Liberal and Performance Arts > Literary and Critical Studies
Research Priority Areas: Being Human - Past, Present & Future
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2015 11:34
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2017 13:45
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/2829

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