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Poetry. . . deals with the facts of our moral and spiritual life and develops the ethical, imaginative and emotional sides of our nature: its truths are those of the heart, the conscience, the imagination, and these are quite as essential as any. . . [1]

Martha Nussbaum's tenth and eleventh essays in Love's Knowledge are particularly helpful in elucidating the relationship of emotion to cognition in The Prelude. Nussbaum is searching for knowledge of the soul; yet she still has an unresolved question: "How does a soul arrive at truth?"[2]. She is debating whether truth is reached through a purely intellectual examination of the soul or through an examination that involves emotion as well. The former viewpoint is buttressed by Locke; and the latter leads to what Zeno the stoic and Proust define as the cataleptic condition, "a condition of certainty from which nothing can dislodge us" (Nussbaum, 265). A third view holds that emotion is a bodily drive which functions entirely independent of cognition. After much consideration of these viewpoints she makes a decision about knowledge of the soul she knows and feels to be right.

Wordsworth also is seeking this knowledge. He opens Book I of The Prelude with a declaration of his freedom and the question of what he will do with it:

Now I am free, enfranchised and at large,

May fix my habitation where I will.

What dwelling shall receive me, in what vale

Shall be my harbour, underneath what grove

Shall I take up my home, and what sweet stream

Shall with its murmurs lull me to my rest?

1805, I, 9-14

We can interpret this question as Wordsworth's querying fate: What will I do with my life? Where is my place in this society? What kind of soul do I have and where will it find its kindred spirits? The Prelude recounts a journey of self exploration by the end of which he is certain of his calling as a poet. As we study his creative process we will see how he relates emotion, cognition and reflection in his concept of imagination. Another relevant topic is how the reading of emotional literature affects judgment. He reveals his debt to literature of this kind as he shows us how it fostered his imagination, soothed his emotion and helped him develop certainty as to his calling. As he draws the poem to a close, he, like Milton, reveals the didactic purpose of his poem:

Prophets of Nature, we to them will speak

A lasting inspiration, sanctified

By reason and by truth; what we have loved

Others will love, and we may teach them how:

Instruct them how the mind of man becomes

A thousand times more beautiful than the earth

On which he dwells, above this frame of things

(Which, 'mid all revolutions in the hopes

And fears of men, doth still remain unchanged)

In beauty exalted, as it is itself

Of substance and of fabric more divine.

1805, XIII, 442-52

The emotional visitations have led him to certainty not only about his own soul and mind, but also have made him aware of universal truths. Locke, as well as Godwin, would not have fully accepted his reaching truth through reason which incorporates emotion, and Locke certainly would not have thought poetry an adequate vehicle for conveying truth. Locke will allow poetic writings to delight but not to teach, for

. . .in discourses where we seek pleasure and delight than improvement, such ornaments as are borrowed from them can scarce pass for faults. But yet if we would speak of things as they are, we must allow that all the art of rhetoric, besides order and clearness; all the artificial and figurative application of words eloquence hath invented, are for nothing else but to insinuate wrong ideas, move the passions, and thereby mislead the judgement; and so indeed are perfect cheats: and therefore, however laudable or allowable oratory may render them in harangues and popular addresses, they are certainly, in all discourses that pretend to inform or instruct, wholly to be avoided; and where truth and knowledge are concerned, cannot but be thought a great fault, either of the language or the person that makes use of them[3].

Locke directly opposes his view insofar as he believes that the only texts which can lead one to knowledge of the soul are those which contain reason and no emotion; however, Nussbaum holds that the "only text that could promote this sort of knowing would be a text that had the requisite combination of emotive material with reflection" (Nussbaum, 281). Another issue we will explore is how the "spots of time" (particularly the Boy of Winander, Penrith Beacon, the Drowned Man and "One Christmas-time") and the emotional impressions they leave behind, inspire Wordsworth and lead him to a cataleptic condition of certainty that he has a "sensitive, and a creative soul" (1805, XI, 256).

* * * * * * * * * *

During Wordsworth's creative process, imagination functions as a faculty which is both emotional and cognitive. For Wordsworth, imagination is both creative and receptive as is exemplified in the "infant babe" (1805, II, 237) of Book II who is described as "creator and receiver both" (1805, II, 273). To exemplify this concept let us suppose that in his travels Wordsworth sees a village church. Empirically speaking, he has received an object and it has entered into his mind through his eyes. However, in his mind's eye he transforms the church:

Even now appears before the mind's clear eye

That self-same village church; I see her sit

(The throned Lady whom erewhile we hailed)

On her green hill, forgetful of this Boy

Who slumbers at her feet, -forgetful, too,

Of all her silent neighbourhood of graves. . .

1850, V, 398-403

He is now creator and receiver both, for (through his senses) he has received or perceived the church; and (through his imagination) he has created the "throned lady" (1850, V, 400) from the church.

In his mind's eye Wordsworth sees the church altered by imagination. The imaginative transformation which the church undergoes is due partially to cognition. If he has long passed from the actual sight of the church yet he can still see it with his mind's eye (memory) then he has abstracted the church, and in doing so he has used a cognitive function. He takes it a step further by reflecting on the church and changing it into a lady. He writes that she is "forgetful of this Boy / Who slumbers at her feet" (1850, V, 401-2). In writing these words, he is giving the lady a responsibility over the boy which is similar to a mother's responsibility over her son. He has processed the church and its neighborhood of graves and likened them to a mother and family of children. He has made this association (or analogy) through the cognitive process of comparison, which is part of the imaginative faculty that creates a lady or mother from a church. Thus, he unites imagination, cognition, and reflection in his creative process; insofar as imagination comes to be seen as "amplitude of mind, / And reason in her most exalted mood" (1805, XIII, 169-70).

Penrith Beacon exemplifies another connection between reflection, imagination, cognition and emotion in The Prelude. When Wordsworth was five years of age he went horseback riding with honest James. Wordsworth eventually loses his guide and while searching he sees a beacon. When he sees the beacon he is sad because he is lost and thus the beacon becomes a "melancholy beacon" (1805, XI, 321). It is also possible that the sadness that gets imposed on the beacon is a product of the emotion he feels when he reflects on the scene instead of (or in addition to) the emotion he was feeling at the time. Once again the cognitive process involved is one of comparison (or identification) in that he likens his sorrow to a beacon. It is through this process that he attaches his internal feelings to external objects and colors the landscape of (or "spots of time" [1805, XI, 257] in) his memory with the tone of his emotions. He recognizes this power as a stage in the development of his poetic mind:

. . .when that first poetic faculty

Of plain imagination and severe-

No longer a mute influence of the soul,

An element of the nature's inner self-

Began to have some promptings to put on

A visible shape, and to the works of art,

The notions and the images of books,

Did knowingly conform itself (by these

Enflamed and proud of that her new delight),

There came among these shapes of human life

A wilfulness of fancy and conceit

Which gave them new importance to the mind-

And nature and her objects beautified

These fictions, as, in some sort, in their turn

They burnished her. From the touch of this new power

Nothing was safe: the elder-tree that grew

Beside the well-known charnel-house had then

A dismal look, the yew-tree had its ghost

That took its station there for ornament.

Then common death was none, common mishap,

But matter for this humour everywhere,

The tragic super-tragic, else left short.

1805, VIII, 511-32

He recognizes that this power amplifies his mood by projecting it onto the external environment. This power also shows a link developing between Wordsworth and Nature; a link which enables him to translate reality into poetry (and landscape of mind). The passage also exemplifies his ability to perceive and project emotional auras; the "dismal look" (1850, VIII, 528) of the elder-tree gives us an inkling of the power (now comparatively nascent) that will later create and receive "visionary dreariness" (1805, XI, 310). The fact that this power is "No longer a mute influence of the soul" (1805, VIII, 513) catalogues the increasing influence of the soul, development of the imagination and its awareness of the soul. Through this process he links emotion and reason, and shows us that (contrary to the philosophical view expressed in the introduction) the soul can rise to the "height of feeling intellect" (1805, XIII, 205). During Wordsworth's ninth summer he noticed a man's clothes by the side of Esthwaite water; he recounts:

. . .Half an hour I watched

And no one owned them; meanwhile the calm lake

Grew dark with all the shadows on its breast,

And now and then a leaping fish disturbed

The breathless stillness. . .

1799, First Part, 270-4

He projects his growing fear onto the lake as his once "calm" (1799, First Part, 271) mind grows "dark" (1799, First Part, 272) with the possibility of there being a dead man under the water. We can see the connection between emotion and cognition insofar as he is likening his mind to the lake. Also, we can see the first step (in Wordsworth's process of translating the external world into verse) which is to project feelings onto a commonplace object. The second step is to internalize the whole scene, so it can be ornamented and brought to life with emotion through imagination. In the Boy of Winander, Wordsworth internalizes the scene, for

. . .while he hung

Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprise

Has carried far into his heart the voice

Of mountain torrents; or the visible scene

Would enter unawares into his mind,

With all its solemn imagery. . .

1850, V, 381-6

Once again the transferral of the external scene into the mind involves cognitive abstraction; however, Wordsworth combines emotion and cognition by describing the transferral in terms of emotion ("a gentle shock of mild surprise" [1850, V, 382]).

After the external scene enters Wordsworth's mind it is recreated by imagination. It is in this last stage of Wordsworth's creative process that we are able to see the relation between emotion, cognition, imagination and reflection. An example of this relation can be seen in the Drowned Man in which the corpse is recreated into "a spectre shape- / Of terror" (1805, V, 472-3). In the 1799 version of the episode, the corpse is referred to as "ghastly" (1799, First Part, 279); Wordsworth perceives the corpse and his mind associates it with fear. In the 1805 revision the drowned man becomes a "spectre" (1805, V, 472). The fact that the "spectre" appears in Wordsworth's later revisions proves that it is the product of reflection. As he thinks (in retrospect) on an object he draws analogies that link the object to other objects and emotions; and so the corpse becomes a "spectre shape- / Of terror" (1805, V, 472-3). Wordsworth describes this process in Book III:

From deep analogies by thought supplied,

Or consciousnesses not to be subdued,

To every natural form, rock, fruit or flower,

Even the loose stones that cover the highway,

I gave a moral life- I saw them feel,

Or linked to them some feeling.

1805, III, 122-7

During the process through which Wordsworth creates poetry, the term reflection takes on a new meaning. When he looks back on incidents in time he reflects these scenes in the imaginative mirror of his mind. The reflections sometimes differ in appearance from their former reality, but primarily they tend to be given an emotional dimension. When he gives a commonplace object emotion he is endowing it with life by giving it the ability to feel. When he reflects, he attaches feelings to the internalized scenes; perhaps even emotions which he was not feeling when he first saw the scene, but feels later as he reflects. According to Wordsworth the Drowned Man is one of those

. . .numerous accidents in flood or field,

Quarry or moor, or 'mid the winter snows,

Distresses and disasters, tragic facts

Of rural history, that impressed my mind

With images to which in following years

Far other feelings were attached-with forms

That yet exist with independent life,

And, like their archetypes, know no decay.

1799, First Part, 280-7

During reflection and revision, he attaches other feelings to the Drowned Man, which in 1850 receives a melancholy tone by becoming a "sad spectacle" (1850, V, 456), and in doing so he shows us how he links cognition to emotion.

* * * * * * * * * *

In Book V, Wordsworth explains the role imaginative literature played in the development of his poetic soul. An example of the effect of literature on him can be seen in the Drowned Man. Although Wordsworth describes the water-logged face as "ghastly" (1850, V, 450), he claims that "no soul-debasing fear. . . / . . .Possessed" him because his "inner eye had seen / Such sights before, among the shining streams / Of faery land" (1850, V, 451-5). Wordsworth's words raise some important questions: How useful is literature as a means of reaching truth? How are emotion, imagination, judgment and literature related? When Wordsworth first saw death reflected in the "streams / Of faeryland"(1850, V, 454-5) it must have frightened him; however, eventually (after encountering death many more times in his reading) he must have become accustomed to it. Thus, when the young William is wandering near Esthwaite water and sees the clothes, and eventually the water logged body of James Jackson (a sight that would seem likely to frighten a boy), Wordsworth is not scared to the point of "soul-debasing fear" (1850, V, 451). The very description of the scene attests to the fact that he must have felt some fear, yet it is a special sort of fear which triggers an imaginative response. He writes that the stories "hallowed" ("to make holy, sanctify, purify" [O.E.D.]) the "spectacle" (1850, V, 455), and in doing so he shows how fiction can substitute, and prepare us, for actual experience. He is writing a defense of fiction, which shows us how it consoled his emotions, spurred his imagination, and eventually led him to certainty as to the poetic nature of his soul.

Also, it is important to take account of our own feelings while reading a work of literature. As we read Book V we feel the shock of the drowned man's sudden appearance. And Wordsworth cleverly designs the episode to convey this emotion to the reader. He describes a "sweet valley" whose paths, shores and brooks are "like a dream" (1805, V, 452-3), and then juxtaposes the idyllic backdrop with the sudden appearance of the "spectre shape" (1805, V, 472). Through this sudden change in the dynamics of the passage he is not only retelling the tale with form corresponding to content, but also he is exposing his readers through fiction to death as he himself received exposure among "the forests of romance" (1805, V, 477). The passage then becomes therapeutic to poet and reader alike. The episode is an interesting blend of non-fictional details with imaginative details; the mixture of the two attest to the fact that experience can often mix with images (such as spectres) of fiction.

Wordsworth seems to regard books as friends; this regard is evident in his description of returning home from school in Book V:

And afterwards, when, to my father's house

Returning at the holidays, I found

That golden store of books which I had left

What heart was mine!

1805, V, 501-5

Wordsworth is in league with Nussbaum who agrees that literature plays a very important role in life. For the reader, a work of imaginative literature becomes a friend through whom s/he can gain emotional experience, participate in emotional judgments and experience ethical learning ("Reading for Life", Nussbaum). We, as readers of literature, are somewhat like trapeze artists training with a safety net, in that literature allows us to feel emotions (such as fear) yet keeps us from actual physical harm. We experience the danger of Wordsworth hanging from "half-inch fissures" (1799, First Part, 59) in a cliff wall, yet we are exempt from injury. Both Wordsworth and Nussbaum demonstrate the worth of literature as an emotional learning experience which can lead to correct judgment as to the nature the reader's soul.

* * * * * * * * * *

Nussbaum explores the link of emotion to reason through the concept of catalepsis which was conceived by Zeno the stoic, who argued that

all our knowledge of the external world is built upon the foundation of certain special perceptual impressions: those which, by their own internal character, their own experienced quality, certify their own veracity. From (or in) assent to such impressions we get the cataleptic condition, a condition of certainty and confidence from which nothing can dislodge us.

Nussbaum, 265

Nussbaum explores this concept through Proust's characters Albertine and Marcel (Remembrance of Things Past). Marcel questions his love for Albertine and after much thought he decides that he does not love her. Wordsworth, like Marcel, is also calling a matter of self-knowledge into question, insofar as he is trying to find his vocation in life. He is nearly certain that he is a poet, yet his inspiration is vexing itself in that he is unable to come up with a topic to write about (1805, I, 47) and he is not making sufficient progress with The Recluse. Marcel's cognitive resolution of indifference toward Albertine is vexed when he hears news of her departure and is suddenly overwhelmed with feelings for her[4]. A significant development in Marcel's understanding of his love for her comes a little earlier on in the story, towards the end of Cities of the Plain or Sodome et Gomorrhe. When Marcel sees Albertine move to exit the train at Parville he realizes that:

. . .this movement which she was making to alight tore my heart unendurably, just as if, notwithstanding the position independent of my body which Albertine's body seemed to be occupying a yard away from it, this separation in space, which an accurate draughtsman would have been obliged to indicate between us, was only apparent, and anyone who wished to make a fresh drawing of things as they really were would now have had to place Albertine, not at a certain distance from me, but inside me[5].

This sudden acknowledgment of his internalization of Albertine is a result of an emotional perception of external reality; this process is very similar to that in which Wordsworth receives the landscape of Winander as "a gentle shock of mild surprise / Has carried far into his heart the voice / Of mountain torrents" (1805, V, 407-9). Wordsworth also has an emotional revelation; for "feeling comes in aid / Of feeling" (1805, XI, 325-6) and he derives inspiration from the "spots of time" (1805, XI, 257) and "the power / They left behind" (1805, XI, 324-5).

Marcel feels a reaction so powerful that he becomes certain of his love for Albertine. Through a similar surge of feeling, Wordsworth also reaches cataleptic certainty as he is visited by "spots of time, / Which with distinct preeminence retain / A renovating virtue" (1805, XI, 257-9). These visitations restore his imagination and give him cataleptic certainty that he has a "sensitive, and a creative soul" (1805, XI, 256). We notice that he speaks of his soul in the language of emotion and that his soul is a creative force, a poetic soul. This recognition shows the link between emotion and cognition in that his belief is sufficient for emotion and his emotion is necessary for full belief (Nussbaum, 41). Through cognition he recognizes his soul as that of a poet yet his judgment is based on the emotion which the "spots" impart, and it is this same emotion that provides him with feeling and therefore the inspiration to create poetry.

According to Nussbaum the cataleptic impressions "are emotional impressions" (Nussbaum, 266) which are imprinted and stamped on us by reality. One "spot of time" which I will explore a little further is Penrith Beacon. In this scene Wordsworth sees a pool which he writes was

An ordinary sight, but I should need

Colours and words that are unknown to man

To paint the visionary dreariness

Which, while I looked all around for my lost guide,

Did at that time invest the naked pool. . .

1805, XI, 308-12

The pool is perceived by his eyes as an "ordinary sight" yet his inner eye perceives an aura of dreariness ("sorrow" [O.E.D.]) which enters into his mind and there leaves a lasting "emotional impression" (1805, XI, 266). The emotional impression does not escape his imagination without being embellished as the pool takes on a "spectral or phantom like quality" (O.E.D.). The pool is not visionary in the sense of a vision which has no basis in reality (O.E.D.), but rather in the sense which corresponds more closely to a cataleptic impression which according to Nussbaum is a perceptual impression that is stamped on us by reality. The pool is also visionary in that it brings cataleptic certainty as one of the many signs and revelations that make vows for Wordsworth and define his role as a prophet of nature.

Another aspect of the cataleptic impressions is the unexpectedness with which they overtake their perceiver; according to Nussbaum: "the impression comes upon Marcel unbidden, unannounced, uncontrolled" (Nussbaum, 267). Wordsworth's loss of his guide and discovery of a valley where he believes "A murderer had been hung" (1805, XI, 289) is an accident. Also, he was wandering when he "chanced to cross / One of those open fields" (1805, V, 456-7) and eventually spots the clothes belonging to the man who drowned in Esthwaite water. Similarly, the "solemn imagery" (1798, l. 22) of Winander enters Wordsworth's mind "unawares" (1798, l. 21) and thus "unbidden, unannounced," and "uncontrolled" (Nussbaum, 267). The death of Wordsworth's father can be described by the same three adjectives; Wordsworth relates the circumstances of the sudden death in Book XI: "ere I had been ten days / A dweller in my father's house, he died" (1805, XI, 364-5). Although Wordsworth's line seems a rather matter of fact account of his father's passing, the original episode contains verse that is very heavily laden with emotion:

No spot but claims the tender tear

By joy or grief to memory dear.

One Evening when the wintry blast

Through the sharp Hawthorn whistling passed

And the poor flocks, all pinched with cold

Sad-drooping sought the mountain fold

Long, long, upon yon naked rock

Alone, I bore the bitter shock. . .

"The Vale of Esthwaite", 425-32

The suddenness of these emotions espouses their truth. According to Nussbaum, when we experience grief or pain "our primary aim is to comfort ourselves", therefore that which has "character of pain must have escaped these mechanisms of comfort and concealment; must, then, have come from the true unconcealed nature of our condition" (Nussbaum, 267). For Wordsworth, poetry is a consolation for emotion insofar as he writes therapeutic verse which expresses and processes his feelings. The emotions provide inspiration in that they reveal his true nature by filling him with poetic spirit.

According to Marcel, it is our passions which draw the outlines of our books and the ensuing periods of repose that write them[6]. This statement is especially well tailored to The Prelude , for the "spots of time" all contain similar emotions and all occur in Wordsworth's youth. He writes The Prelude later in life and the "spots" do seem to provide an outline for the poem. In support of this theory it is interesting to note that the Drowned Man precedes the "spots of time" passage (in The Prelude of 1799, First Part, 259-374) which is followed by Penrith Beacon and the passage about his father's death, respectively. When the scenes are transplanted to the thirteen and fourteen book versions of the poem, the Boy of Winander precedes the Drowned Man (V: 1805, 389-481; 1850, 364-459); and Wordsworth's recognition of his soul as "sensitive" and "creative" directly precedes the "spots of time" passage, Penrith Beacon and "One Christmas-time", respectively( 1805, XI, 250-388; 1850, XII, 201-335). The underlying framework which links these passages in his mind seems to consist of emotion. Upon close inspection we see that the "visionary dreariness" (1805, XI, 310) with which Wordsworth invests the pool, is similar to the emotion in "One Christmas-time" in which the time surrounding his father's death is referred to as that "dreary time" (1805, XI, 364), and to the "sad spectacle" (1850, V, 456) that the scene of the drowned man becomes. Also, in the Boy of Winander, Wordsworth describes the scene as "solemn" (1805, V, 411). These "spots" are all the product of cognition and emotion, for it is their strong emotional content that connects them and it is Wordsworth's periods of reflection that translate them from memory into verse.

* * * * * * * * * *

A soul arrives at truth through a decision that involves emotion as well as cognition. The theories of Locke which hold that emotion will always lead us away from truth in judgments have an exception in The Prelude. This conclusion is based on Wordsworth, who through his creative process, shows us that emotion and cognition are linked. As he projects his thoughts on external reality, he not only endows it with his feelings and the ability to feel, he also draws an analogy between the external world and his mind. Through abstraction and imagination he translates the external landscape into landscape of mind. He explains this process in his Preface of 1815:

I have begun with one of the earliest processes of Nature, in the development of this faculty. Guided by one of my own primary consciousnesses. I have represented a commutation and transfer of internal feelings, co-operating with external accidents, to plant, for immortality, images of sound and sight, in the celestial soil of Imagination[7].

His mind buries the "spots of time" in memory, and when he is questioning the nature of his soul, these memories from his childhood nourish his imagination and visit him with their powerful feeling. He makes a judgment about his soul not only through cognition but also through the emotional impressions of these powerful visitations. As A. J. George suggests (in the quote preceding the introduction), perhaps there are truths which only poetry and emotion can bring to light, and that these truths (of the heart) must be considered with emotion in order to be developed and in turn understood. George also refers to the value of reading poetry to develop the ethical, imaginative and emotional responses, and his insight gives us a view of the dual purpose of imaginative and emotional literature. Through experiencing fiction Wordsworth has developed an emotional response to death (such as that of James Jackson); similarly through writing verse which records the death of his father Wordsworth comes to understand poetry as a matrix for processing feelings. Likewise when we read his accounts of the Drowned Man and "One Christmas-time" whether they evoke shock, sympathy or other emotions, we to an extent are developing, processing and experiencing emotional responses which we have felt and/or will feel when we are confronted with a similar situation. For Wordsworth, the emotions he records in verse not only provide material for his song, but also reveal the source of his inspiration. The episodes he composes during his time in Goslar evolve into a work which catalogues the growth of a poet's mind and proves a confirmation of the powers of his poetic soul. In Book V, he reveals his debt to emotional and imaginative literature, by showing us how his store of books in childhood fostered his imagination, soothed his emotion, and helped him develop certainty as to his calling. This certainty comes to him at a time when he is questioning his poetic powers (more particularly if his imagination has been corrupted by the rules of landscape painting). At this time, he is restored to a cataleptic condition of certainty as to the nature of his soul:

I had felt

Too forcibly, too early in my life,

Visitings of imaginative power

For this to last: I shook the habit off

Entirely and for ever, and again

In Nature's presence stood, as I stand now,

A sensitive, and a creative soul.

1805, XI, 250-6