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Romantic ThingsA Tree, a Rock, a Cloud$
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Mary Jacobus

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226390666

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226390680.001.0001

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The Gravity of Things

The Gravity of Things

Introduction (p.1) The Gravity of Things
Romantic Things

Mary Jacobus

University of Chicago Press

Gravity and language are both material and immaterial entities all at once, entities that we are not so sure about how they work. A poet’s words, as Wordsworth puts it, should be weighed in the balance of feeling. When words are imbued with passion, they begin to obtain a weight of their own, a sense of gravity. Lyric poetry, by its very nature, provides a way of thinking about material and immaterial things, often linking the two through figures of speech. This chapter talks about the gravity of words, particularly of lyric poetry. Both Wordsworth’s and Rilke’s poetry are introduced here as a way of showing the book’s focus on inanimate natural phenomena such as trees and rocks. This recent “thing theory” suggests that our thoughts are just as much shaped by what things make of us as by what we make of them.

Keywords:   gravity, language, Wordsworth, balance of feeling, lyric poetry, Rilke, inanimate natural phenomena, thing theory

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