Edward Thomas, Poetry and the Languages of Nature

Middleton, Rowan (2016) Edward Thomas, Poetry and the Languages of Nature. English, 65 (251). pp. 310-329. ISSN 0013-8215

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Abstract

Edward Thomas’ poetry is read as belonging to the mystical tradition of English poetry, particularly in relation to Wordsworth’s conception of the poet as mediator between the ‘everyday’ appearance of the world and that which goes beyond it. Whilst Thomas may not be seen as an obvious contender for such a tradition, several of his poems concern both the physical aspects of nature and a quiet search for something beyond the physical that is felt to be there, even if access to it is uncertain or unachieved. Of particular interest are the recurring references to ‘languages’ of nature in poems such as ‘Sedge-warblers’, ‘The Word’ and examples from his prose. Thomas’ poetry is placed in the context of his time and the prevailing materialistic worldview. By rejecting the dream of the water nymph in ‘Sedge-warblers’ and focussing solely on the water of the brook, Thomas aims to write in a way that is appropriate for his time, yet also engages with the transcendent aspects of nature. Further examples of Thomas’ works are examined in relation to links between the sensitivity of children and the sensitivity of poets towards both the physical and transcendent aspects of nature. Antony Easthope’s work on empiricist poetics is discussed in relation to Thomas, as is Scott Knickerbocker’s theory of sensuous poesis. The article concludes by examining some of Thomas’ own writing and poetry that concerns the ‘aliveness’ of language, and how it can be used to create poems that achieve the vital power described by Wordsworth.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Edward Thomas; English poetry; William Wordsworth; nature
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
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: 27 Sep 2016 14:52
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2017 02:24
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3961

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