3 December 2022
I manged to find a bit of time to go through the additional Wordsworth resources. There’s a short video, and a further poem which is called “Michael: a pastoral” which I printed out. This section emphasised the connection between his cottage, his immediate environment and his poems.
I quite liked one of the activities, which was digging into a biographical dictionary that everyone can access through the OU library website.
I discovered something really interesting. Wordsworth had been inspired to go on a grand tour, after reading a book that was written by a historian and travel writer called William Coxe (Wikipedia). I’ve barely read anything from this period, and yet I’ve read some of the words from this chap, who wrote about his travels around Poland, Russia and Sweden. It is also interesting due to the emphasis that A230 gives to travel writing.
All my notes are roughly in order, and I’ve scanned the TMA 3 question. I’ll also share the obvious, which is: never use Wikipedia in a TMA!
My final bit for the day, a forum activity.
The activity question is: what [do] you understand by Romanticism, and why you think that the forum is entitled ‘Romantic Lives’?
My reply follows:
Great question! I guess there's what I understand by the term romanticism right now, and how I might understand it by the end of the block.
At the moment (at the time of writing), I don't have (in my head) a firm definition, but a sense that it is something that is linked to the majesty of the natural world and landscapes, and how theses can instil within us heightened emotion, which can then be expressed through writing. In all this there's the notion of the individual, but I'm not quite sure where I've got this from.
In terms of what is meant by lives, perhaps it relates to how the environment influences and inspires people in different ways? I know that Shelly was inspired through a connection with the alps? I'm a bit hazy on the detail.
I discovered something interesting through the Wordsworth biography activity. He apparently went on a bit of a grand tour, inspired by reading a historian and travel writer called William Coxe, whilst he was studying at Cambridge. I have never read Wordsworth (and I'm struggling a bit, to be honest!), Shelly, but randomly I have read a bit of Coxe!
Coming back to the question, I'm mindful to look at a book called "A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory" by Cuddon, which we can access through the OU library. A key (bit of a) sentence that seems to link back to my first stab at a definition are: "the ideals of romanticism included an intense focus on human subjectivity, an exaltation of Nature ... " (p.623) (the sentence is quite long!)
5 December 2022
A visit to a dentist in Lincolnshire. I’m not having any treatment done, though; I’m a designated driver for the day.
I sit in reception and fish out the second book from my bag, and try to read the chapter about Shelly. It was difficult to concentrate over the cheerful, and very distracting music that can be found in dentists. I realise that I have briefly read all the sections that I was reading. I now need to look over the poems in the reader, and try to get back to Wordsworth, which I’m struggling with.
17 December 2022
I’ve had an inadvertent break from study; I’ve been marking some TMAs, and helping a family member.
On 10 December, I went to see a performance of Othello (Guardian review) at the national theatre. Although the date of the performance was too late to coincide with the date of my previous TMA, I did find it very interesting, especially when thinking about how it differs to the other performances I’ve seen.
The following radio programme was shared on the A230 facebook group: In Our Time, Frankenstein by Mary Shelly (BBC). To get back into study, I made a bunch of notes.
It’s now time to return to the block materials, to remember where I was, and then get back to Wordsworth, as I had promised myself.
18 December 2022
It’s “figuring out Wordsworth” day, which means doing some reading.
I’ve discovered I take things in more easily if I listen to them. When reading Wordsworth, I’ve found my mind easily wanders off. To help, I’ve found a number of recordings on YouTube of some of the poems that are mentioned in our readings book.
The first one is Reading 1.2, Point Rash Judgement, from line 40 onwards
The next one is a fragment from Reading 1.4, Home at Grasmere, lines 130 through 170. (I can't find a complete reading). The YouTube channel looks interesting!
A reading of Reading 1.3, The Brothers. I have no idea what version is read, but it's pretty close to the version that we have in the reader. I understand it a bit better now! (I can't help but feel the use of blank verse is a bit contrived!)
A final Wordsworth reading. This time, Reading 1.6, a section from book 5, from The Prelude (I don't think the module materials explains very well what The Prelude is all about, since I remain a bit lost). If you go to the 20 to 32 min mark, you'll find lines 450 onwards through to 557.
Finally, something a bit different. Reading 2.2: Ode to the West Wind, as read by Michael Sheen.
I’m jumping around a bit today. I finish the day by reading the block material about Frankenstein.