Famous Wordsworth Quotes

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But now it seems clear that literary criticism was inherently doomed. Explicitly or otherwise it had based itself on a structure of echelons and hierarchies; it was about the talent elite. And the structure atomized as soon as the forces of democratization gave their next concerted push. Those forces – incomparably the most potent in our culture – have gone on pushing. And they are now running up against a natural barrier. Some citadels, true, have proved stormable. You can become rich without having any talent (via the scratchcard and the rollover jackpot). You can become famous without having any talent (by abasing yourself on some TV nerdathon; a clear improvement on the older method of simply killing a celebrity and inheriting the aura). But you cannot become talented without having any talent. Therefore, talent must go. Literary criticism, now almost entirely confined to the universities, thus moves against talent by moving against the canon. Academic preferment will not come from a respectful study of Wordsworth’s poetics; it will come from a challenging study of his politics – his attitude toward the poor, say, or his unconscious ‘valorization’ of Napoleon; and it will come still faster if you ignore Wordsworth and elevate some (justly) neglected contemporary, by which process the canon may be quietly and steadily sapped. A brief consultation of the Internet will show that meanwhile, everyone has become a literary critic – or at least, a book-reviewer.
Martin Amis (The War against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000)
Bhagat Singh revered Lajpat Rai as a leader. But he would not spare even Lajpat Rai, when, during the last years of his life, Lajpat Rai turned to communal politics. He then launched a political-ideological campaign against him. Because Lajpat Rai was a respected leader, he would not publicly use harsh words of criticism against him. And so he printed as a pamphlet Robert Browning’s famous poem, ‘The Lost Leader,’ in which Browning criticizes Wordsworth for turning against liberty. The poem begins with the line ‘Just for a handful of silver he left us.’ A few more of the poem’s lines were: ‘We shall march prospering, not thro’ his presence; Songs may inspirit us, not from his lyre,’ and ‘Blot out his name, then, record one lost soul more.’ There was not one word of criticism of Lajpat Rai. Only, on the front cover, he printed Lajpat Rai’s photograph!
Bipan Chandra (India's Struggle for Independence)
But now it seems clear that literary criticism was inherently doomed. Explicitly or otherwise it had based itself on a structure of echelons and hierarchies; it was about the talent elite. And the structure atomized as soon as the forces of democratization gave their next concerted push. Those forces – incomparably the most potent in our culture – have gone on pushing. And they are now running up against a natural barrier. Some citadels, true, have proved stormable. You can become rich without having any talent (via the scratchcard and the rollover jackpot). You can become famous without having any talent (by abasing yourself on some TV nerdathon; a clear improvement on the older method of simply killing a celebrity and inheriting the aura). But you cannot become talented without having any talent. Therefore, talent must go. Literary criticism, now almost entirely confined to the universities, thus moves against talent by moving against the canon. Academic preferment will not come from a respectful study of Wordsworth’s poetics; it will come from a challenging study of his politics – his attitude toward the poor, say, or his unconscious ‘valorization’ of Napoleon; and it will come still faster if you ignore Wordsworth and elevate some (justly) neglected contemporary, by which process the canon may be quietly and steadily sapped. A brief consultation of the Internet will show that meanwhile, everyone has become a literary critic – or at least, a book-reviewer.
Martin Amis (The War against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000)
When Marsyas was 'torn from the scabbard of his limbs' - DELLA VAGINA DELLA MEMBRE SUE, to use one of Dante's most terrible Tacitean phrases - he had no more song, the Greek said. Apollo had been victor. The lyre had vanquished the reed. But perhaps the Greeks were mistaken. I hear in much modern Art the cry of Marsyas. It is bitter in Baudelaire, sweet and plaintive in Lamartine, mystic in Verlaine. It is in the deferred resolutions of Chopin's music. It is in the discontent that haunts Burne- Jones's women. Even Matthew Arnold, whose song of Callicles tells of 'the triumph of the sweet persuasive lyre,' and the 'famous final victory,' in such a clear note of lyrical beauty, has not a little of it; in the troubled undertone of doubt and distress that haunts his verses, neither Goethe nor Wordsworth could help him, though he followed each in turn, and when he seeks to mourn for THYRSIS or to sing of the SCHOLAR GIPSY, it is the reed that he has to take for the rendering of his strain. But whether or not the Phrygian Faun was silent, I cannot be. Expression is as necessary to me as leaf and blossoms are to the black branches of the trees that show themselves above the prison walls and are so restless in the wind. Between my art and the world there is now a wide gulf, but between art and myself there is none. I hope at least that there is none.
Oscar Wilde (De Profundis and Other Writings)
Even T. S. Eliot’s famous 1915 poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock—in which he laments the need to “prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet”—seems a cri de coeur about the new demands of self-presentation. While poets of the previous century had wandered lonely as a cloud through the countryside (Wordsworth, in 1802) or repaired in solitude to Walden Pond (Thoreau, in 1845), Eliot’s Prufrock mostly worries about being looked at by “eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase” and pin you, wriggling, to a wall.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)