Embodied Perspectives and Mountain-Landscapes in “Mont Blanc” and Book XIII of The Prelude

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
April McGinnis (Creator)
Institution
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: http://www.library.appstate.edu/
Advisor
William Brewer

Abstract: Shelley’s “Mont Blanc” and the final book of Wordsworth’s The Prelude each tell the story of an individual’s encounter with a vast mountain landscape. Although there are many similarities between the two poems, the poets’ experiences of the mountain-landscapes—and their interpretations of those experiences—are quite different, reflecting the poets’ respective philosophies of epistemology and poetic inspiration and composition. This project addresses two seemingly oppositional concepts: the Romantic sublime and Merleau-Ponty’s theory of embodiment. Discussions of the sublime tend to focus on its supersensory nature—that the human subject undergoes an experience that catapults the mind beyond what the senses are able to perceive. It attempts to bring focus back to the sensory encounters that enable this experience to take place. Were it not for the embodied experience of the physical world, the supersensory experience of the sublime could not occur. In considering the poems above, we will find that the poet’s unique situation within a physical landscape plays a crucial role in his interpretation of that landscape, and this in turn affects the poetic expression of the landscape and all that follows.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
McGinnis, A. (2010). Embodied Perspectives and Mountain-Landscapes in “Mont Blanc” and Book XIII of The Prelude. Unpublished master’s thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, embodiment, the sublime, landscape literature