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Haltrin-Khalturina E.V. The Natural Sublime Leading to the Human Sublime (on Book 8 of Wordsworth’s The Prelude). Studia Litterarum, 2018, vol. 3, no 2, pp. 38–51. (In English) DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-2-38-51

Author: Elena V. Haltrin-Khalturina
Information about the author:

Elena V. Haltrin-Khalturina, Doctor of Philological Sciences (RF), PhD in English (USA), Leading Research Fellow, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

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Received: February 13, 2018
Published: June 25, 2018
Issue: 2018 Vol. 3, №2
Department: World Literature
Pages: 37-51

UDK: 821.111
BBK: 83.3(4Вел)5
Keywords: British Romanticism, William Wordsworth, natural sublime, human sublime, the fanciful pastoral, the imaginative sublime, images of shepherds, ‘spots of time’, ‘love of man’.


This article seeks to trace the connection between two kinds of the Romantic sublime envisaged in Book 8 of Wordsworth’s great autobiographical poem The Prelude, or Growth of a Poet’s Mind (1805, 1850). Our focus is primarily on the 1850 text. I read Book 8 against passages from Wordsworth’s fragmentary essay “The Sublime and the Beautiful” (c. 1811/1812), attempting to grasp how the components of the natural sublime, highlighted by Wordsworth, — power, duration, individual form — got modified in Book 8 to produce the sensation of the human sublime. My interpretation posits a new pattern of emphasis on aesthetical issues encapsulated in the title of the Book 8 “Love of Nature Leading to Love of Man”: unlike the Burkean sublime, arousing fear and awe, the Wordsworthian sublime is capable of inspiring heartfelt adoration akin to love, when, in the course of The Prelude, an ordinary human being appears “ennobled outwardly before sight”.


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