Common Corrosive Ancestor

I like how this gently moves from the consideration of the conditions for epic to an aperçu of a specific historical mentalité …

Yet without a mythical or cosmological scheme positing a continuity between human and divine, it is difficult to see how epic can be written. Epic is total in its aim, a vision of “First and last and midst and without end.” For Wordsworth, however, continuity is too crucial to be posited a priori. It is recovered, or revealed from moment to moment; and only by an act of faith or sentiment, and never of imagination, fixed as certain and ordained. The terror of discontinuity or separation enters, in fact, as soon as the imagination truly enters. In its restraint of vision, as well as its peculiar nakedness before the moment, this resembles an extreme Protestantism, and Wordsworth seems to quest for “evidences” in the form of intimations of continuity. But it is likely that this radical Protestantism, and Wordsworth’s sensibility, have a modern and corrosive self-consciousness as common ancestor, rather than being in a relation of cause and effect to each other.

Wordsworth’s Poetry 1787-1814
Geoffrey Hartman

And so for day 2467
14.09.2013

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