In 1807, William Wordsworth conceived one of his most acclaimed poems titled “The World is Too Much With Us”. To this day, his work continues to be the most influential in Western literature and is often stated to be the face of the nineteenth century.
Throughout the Romantic Era, the stereotypical vision of a tortured poet became established, as well as a newly constructed appreciation of nature, which is distinctly evident in William Wordsworth’s poem, “The World is Too Much With Us”.The poem conveys the concept that the writer is a tortured visionary, a stereotype created throughout the artistic movement of the Romantic Period. This cliché portrays the artist in a continuous moment of misunderstood frustration. It is discreetly evident throughout the poem when Wordsworth states “Great God! I’d rather be / A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;” (Wordsworth 9-10). This line expresses the poet’s impression of constantly feeling disconnected from the rest of society and essentially misapprehended.
Additionally, Wordsworth states in the next two lines “So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, / Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;” (Wordsworth 11-12), furthering the idealistic stereotype. Amid the Romantic Era, it was frequently rumoured that the tortured artist often suffered from mental illness, and after numerous experiments, this hypothesis deemed accurate. In a study examined by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it discloses “However, being an author was specifically associated with increased likelihood of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, unipolar depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. In addition, we found an association between creative professions and first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anorexia nervosa, and for siblings of patients with autism.” (Kyaga, et al. 83).
Additionally, in a study published by Clarivate Analytics in Creativity Research Journal, they conclude that there is in fact a correlation between mental illnesses and an increase in creativity, clearly stating “In fact, nonschizophrenics with either schizotypal or schizoid personality disorder or multiple schizotypal signs (which other research has linked with genetic liability for schizophrenia) had significantly higher creativity than other participants.” (Kinney, et al. 17).
William Wordsworth’s pieces are able to further glorify this cliché vision of a tortured artist and comply to the new nineteenth century idealized version of an innovative genius.The nineteenth century aged in the enhanced appreciation of nature in response to the materialistic essence brought by way of the Neoclassical Era. Wordsworth references nature frequently throughout the poem in an honorary regard, parallel to the Romantic Era’s distinct admiration towards the environment. It is initially detected in the third line, declaring “Little we see in Nature that is ours;” (Wordsworth 3). This line expresses Wordsworth’s aching fondness while simultaneously identifying society’s lack of gratitude towards nature. In regards to the environment, Wordsworth expresses “For this, for everything, we are out of tune; / It moves us not.” (Wordsworth 8-9), emphasizing humanity’s inability to become captivated by the wildlife around them. As stated by Tiffany Wayne in the Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism, she indicates “Wordsworth influenced Ralph Waldo Emerson and American romanticism even more significantly, perhaps, in his emphasis on the role of the poet as interpreter of nature and as a “representative” or ideal man in his relationship to nature and to the life of the mind.
” (Wayne 321). Finally, in the Encyclopedia of Literary Romanticism, Second Edition, Melissa Elmes concludes “Throughout William Wordsworth’s work he maintains the voice of one who observes, filters, and records the relationship between humans and nature with a keen understanding and awareness of the ephemeral and transient quality of the former in comparison with the permanence and intransience of the latter. This is the essence of his Romanticism.
” (Elmes). Wordsworth was truly entranced by nature allowing him a preeminent prospect of the artistic form, essentially captivating numerous readers and catering to the movement of the Romantic Period. In conclusion, William Wordsworth notably complimented the Romantic Era’s conventional ideas of the stereotypical vision of a tortured poet, as well as a newly constructed appreciation of nature, distinctly evident in his poem, “The World is Too Much With Us”.
Additionally, his artistic concepts created an influence in literature, which can be identified to modern day writing.