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Musicality and Harmony in Wordsworth's Poetry, 1798-1814

LO, YIMON (2020) Musicality and Harmony in Wordsworth's Poetry, 1798-1814. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis examines the manifestations of musicality and harmony in the works of William Wordsworth from 1798 to 1814. My thesis offers an extended study of Wordsworth’s writings about soundscape and the auditory imagination by reading the status of music as an imaginative and philosophical shaping presence in his poetry. I draw on applicable concepts from music psychology, aesthetics, practice, and perception as a critical lens for my interpretation of the function and mechanism of Wordsworth’s aural properties, organisation, structure, and movement.

My thesis centres on three main concerns: the performative nature and effects that music imparts to poetry; the use of musical metaphors, allusions, and imagery; and the process of imaginative auditory expression and response. Chapters 1 and 2 associate Wordsworth’s lyricism and his theories of poetry and the imagination with the nature of music and musical harmony. Chapters 3 and 4 explore the concepts of music memory and auditory expectation that shape Wordsworth’s theme of revisitation, as well as his understanding of poetic unfamiliarity and metrical dislocation. Chapter 5 extends my reading of auditory unknowingness and unfamiliarity to Wordsworth’s representations of urban soundscapes, rhythms, and dynamics. Chapter 6 examines one further dimension of Wordsworth’s soundscape and musicality by attending to the poetics of silence and its function of social, spiritual, and imaginative reintegration. Through a discussion of ‘The Solitary Reaper’, the Coda closes my thesis by unifying all poetic modes and forms of auditory experiences to compose Wordsworth’s abiding music and harmony.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:William Wordsworth; musicality; harmony; lyric; poetry; Romanticism
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Jun 2020 11:57

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