a substitute for imaginative and intellectual engagement with the development of....

皮皮鲁

Member
chinese
Here is a sentence "To Wordsworth, nature acts as a substitute for imaginative and intellectual engagement with the development of embodied human beings in their diverse circumstances."

I'v racked my brains for what the author is trying to say in vain,now hoping some of you people would condescend to save me from the pain. :(

I figure is he trying to say that Wordsworth chose to be embraced fully by the natural world rather than concern himself imaginatively and intellectually with the development of the material world of human beings?
 
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  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    You have my sympathy. While I try to decipher it, I'll characterize it as a pseudo-intellectual puffball, festooned with faux-academic trappings.

    Now that I've revealed my mild prejudice against inflated jargon that trips over itself on the way to the publisher of pretentious nonsense....

    Nature acts as a substitute for...

    1. The engagement of imagination and intellect with...

    2. development of embodied human beings... {If not embodied, human beings must be imaginary, methinks.}

    3. in their diverse circumstances.

    I begin by discarding 3 entirely. Was the author paid by the word?


    Nature is a metaphor for contact between the development of people and human imagination and rational thought?


    You have my apologies and my sympathy. Much as I try, this gusher of syllables holds its secrets hidden from me.


    Edit: I found the source of the text, and it has many errors that suggest that (1) the author is not a native English speaker, or (2) this is a translation of questionable quality or (3) it is a machine translation.
     
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    tomzenith

    Senior Member
    English - Britain
    It's highly unlikely that it's a translation, for a start there's no credited translator, and I doubt Routledge are in the habit of whacking a text into google translator and seeing what comes out.. It would almost be better if it were - I agree with you that it is terribly written!

    Nature definitely isn't a metaphor here, rather it replaces something else (as a substitute for it).

    The idea is that Wordsworth uses 'Nature' as a concept in The Prelude in order to avoid the answering the more difficult questions (that is, imaginatively intellectually engaging with them) of how embodied human beings (human beings that are not merely spiritual entities, but physical realities) develop in their own circumstances.

    The last bit (3) is important, as it contains most of the sting of the comment. Since this is a book on 'Romanticism and Ideology', what the author seems to be getting at is that Wordsworth avoids looking at political realities (this specific thing is happening to this person) and is instead hiding in abstractions. It's worth bearing in mind that a lot of Wordsworth criticism is devoted to examining the political shift he underwent after the French Revolution.

    So, as simply as possible:

    'Wordsworth talks about Nature instead of talking about what happens really happens to people.'

    So I think you were pretty much spot on to start with!

    I figure is he trying to say that Wordsworth chose to be embraced fully by the natural world rather than concern himself imaginatively and intellectually with the development of the material world of human beings?
    EDIT: There are much better books written about the Romantic poets..
     
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    皮皮鲁

    Member
    chinese
    Hi Cuchuflete, I'v long been fed up with the bombardment by those affected pedants with their minced diction with the air of a emasculated eunuch contrived to seduce rather than guide us novices,and they are quite unlikely to be willing to get weaned from their precious habits.That said,we're constrained to hold the assumption that what he writes is universally unquestionable, for we must take the exams prepared by them. To end the digression, I find your interpretation appealling to my taste,thanks for your efforts and sympathy. :)
     

    Crashish

    Member
    [Am.] English
    This is very thought-provoking and cryptic. I don't think there is a definitive answer.

    Here are some of my thoughts below. I'm just throwing things out here.

    To Wordsworth:

    • Nature is his crutch, that is, it's what he leans on (wants to believe in/chooses to believe in/ believes in) in order for him to explain his existence/the meaning of his life and/or of others (current/past/future circumstance(s)).
    • Nature is a way of making sense of his life/existence.
    • Nature is his way of "simplifying the complexity of life." (wth!)
    • Nature is his way of finding peace for something he can't explain.
    • Nature gives him purpose (strength?) and knowledge.
    • He sees nature as a model for all things, something unlearned and pure. Something that can't and shouldn't be limited or defined by the words of man.
    • He uses nature as an excuse or coping mechanism.
    • He uses nature as an escape from the realities and social complexities of life; His scapegoat.
    • He uses nature as a means of avoiding or dealing with tragedy, betrayal, confrontation, controversy - to give a few examples.
    • Nature is his way of avoiding reality. A diversion from reality.
    Nature's his god if you will. Nature is his source of knowledge, strength, purpose, peace... he seems to worship this idea. He also seems as if he's forcing his separation from any possible label someone might impose on him. Exempting himself from popular opinion or narrow-minded thinking.
    It sounds more like an excuse or diversion than a substitute to me.

    Interpretation aside, the only way to know what he meant for sure, would be to ask him directly. Unfortunately, this is impossible.

    Maybe I'm way off, but I wanted to give it a try. That made my head hurt a little.
     
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    皮皮鲁

    Member
    chinese
    Hi Tom,that's some good information on the subject,now I'm much clearer on this jumble of words,I like poems though reading too much criticism and comments is waste of life for me,especially those dealing with their social and historical implications,so far my reading on these appreciations has surpassed by one hundred times the amount of reading I did on the actual poems,for the former is mandatory and of which the material is always lengthy,dreary and written by some..........well, I'd better balk here before giving up too much clues for the professor not to track me down tomorrow. :) Thanks pal.
     
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    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Tomzenith found the original source. Routledge is a respected publishing house, unlikely to put out utter crap. What I had seen before was a group of about 8 Chinese academic (?) sites, offering translations of theses for a fee. All had the sentence in question, followed by this:

    The most important contribution he has made is that he has not only started the modern poetry, the poetry of the growing inner self, but also changed the course of English poetry by using ordinary speech of the language and by advocating a return to nature.
    That certainly doesn't read like native English. None of the sites attributed it to any author. Was it just cribbed and mangled?
     

    tomzenith

    Senior Member
    English - Britain
    I know the feeling - I'm a lit student too and I've had to wade through a lot of fairly incomprehensible rubbish over the last few years.. Good luck anyway!

    @Cuchuflete - I have absolutely no idea what that sentence is! I've found the source you found it from, and it looks like they've just copied and pasted things from other books and linked it together in less than perfect English.. It's not in the original, which I found here. In this context, what do you reckon? The rest of the paragraph helps a little, though not as much as it should.

    Even the correct version isn't well written - most accademics can't write.
     
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    皮皮鲁

    Member
    chinese
    Crashish, thank you for sharing your thoughts here and sorry for that hurt. :) I would rather read a book written by you but maybe that's just because my English is too limited to penetrate these words, to see something beneath the surface and no fault on the part of the author for people like you can read so much that I can not from these words accused by me of being nonsense, now my head begins to hurt, along with my heart.
     
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    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    I know the feeling - I'm a lit student too and I've had to wade through a lot of fairly incomprehensible rubbish over the last few years.. Good luck anyway!

    @Cuchuflete - I have absolutely no idea what that sentence is! I've found the source you found it from, and it looks like they've just copied and pasted things from other books and linked it together in less than perfect English.. It's not in the original, which I found here. In this context, what do you reckon? The rest of the paragraph helps a little, though not as much as it should.


    Even the correct version isn't well written - most accademics can't write.
    I retract what I said before about Routledge not publishing utter crap. There are strings of words on the page you have linked to that are not even complete sentences.
     
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