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Reviewing the formative and synthetic experience of William Wordsworth through a psychoanalytical approach

Byeonghoon Hwang, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation will examine the psychical operations and phenomena developed in William Wordsworth's writings. It is premised upon the idea that Wordsworth's poetry reflects his psychic operations. It examines some of the ways in which Freud's theories, the object relations theory, Lacan's theories, Derrida's theories, Bourdieu's social theories and Gestalt psychology contribute to our understanding of the literary works of Wordsworth. This project starts from the intense examination of the underlying dynamics of Wordsworth's mentality. It deals with the interweaving of the internal and the external experience that are synthetically constructed. This psychoanalytical approach is of service to the investigation of Wordsworth (as an individual and as a poet) and his pursuit of the psychological equilibrium. ^ In the developmental process, Wordsworth's growth is associated with his relations with the object and his environment. He establishes nature as his object, or the other, which promotes his psychological development. In this process, he experiences both internalization and externalization and builds up the projective identification. According to the Lacanian approach, Wordsworth's (literary) experience through each stage of the Imaginary and the Symbolic shows his dialectic advancement for his mental growth and literary attainments. This developmental process is conducive to the formation of his social unconscious as a poet and his relationship with the whole issue of the environment. It prepares the foundation upon which he forms his poetic ego through his experience of the French Revolution. The social revolution as a real history is incorporated into his poetry through his poetic transformation. His ego reaches its maturity to establish a new “field” that becomes a ground in which he can raise his consolidated ego and can accomplish his psychical equilibrium of the mind. Wordsworth's attainment of homeostasis is the result of his entire formative and synthetic experience. ^

Subject Area

Literature, English

Recommended Citation

Hwang, Byeonghoon, "Reviewing the formative and synthetic experience of William Wordsworth through a psychoanalytical approach" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3163991.