Tables Turned Essay

2049 WordsAug 6, 20129 Pages
The Tables Turned Yes, another one of these. There is a discernible attitude, among some poets, that book learning (and science in particular) is somehow 'unnatural' and 'unpoetic', and that by its pursuit the human race is abandoning its collective spirituality, so to speak, and moving away from nature. This has spawned a whole brood of fallacies and misrepresentations, from Rousseau's unfoundedly praised 'noble savage' to Whitman's unjustly reviled 'learned astronomer'.[1] But enough of the rant - what about the poem? Well, even considered apart from its viewpoint, it's not that great a poem. The tone is sententious, the form correct but dull. And if he was trying to present nature as infinitely more attractive than books - well, let's just say I've seen it done better. In fact, the only reason I'm running this at all is that my irritation at the attitude displayed occasionally calls for an outlet, and the poem made a good excuse :) (Though in Wordsworth's defence the friend he addressed the poem to apparently had an equally one-sided attachment to books - see Notes.) [1] imho, the only place this *has* been done well is in Oscar Wilde's "The Nightingale and the Rose" The speaker begins by telling his friend to stop reading books; he'll become fat from being sedentary. The speaker then asks why he chooses to be so serious while outside there is a beautiful evening scene: Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books; Or surely you'll grow double: Up! up! my friend, and clear your

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