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Ear Perception as a Poetic Device: The Aesthetics of Sound in William Wordsworth’s Poetry

Hicham Ali Belleili


Wordsworth’s romantic approach to poetry manifests itself through a rich array of writing techniques. His reliance on the five senses in his poetic depictions constitutes an aesthetics that swerves from a mimetic representation of reality and embraces reliance on personal experiences and subjective impressions. Among other senses, Wordsworth gives particular attention to the ear. Some important poems of his feature sound and music as stylistic devices illustrating a few theoretical concepts already developed in “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” (1802). In selected passages from The Prelude and “The Solitary Reaper” Wordsworth uses sound and hearing as metaphors for his principle of poetic creation in tranquillity, while in poems like “The Power of Sound” and “The Power of Music” the motive of music distinctively reveals Wordsworth’s differentiation between the poet and the ordinary man as plainly exposed in his “Preface”.


William Wordsworth; Romanticism; Imagination; Poetry; Poetics; Music and Literature; Hearing; Sound Aesthetics; Ear perception; Musical metaphors.

Full Text:



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ling-2020-001-bell

Copyright (©) 2020 Hicham Ali Belleili – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

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Linguæ & - Rivista di lingue e culture moderne
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (06/04/2012 n. 185)
Online ISSN 1724-8698 - Print ISSN 2281-8952

Dipartimento di Scienze della Comunicazione, Studi Umanistici e Internazionali: Storia, Culture, Lingue, Letterature, Arti, Media
Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo

Editor-in-Chief: Roberta Mullini
Editorial Board: Maurizio Ascari - Stefano Beretta - Antonio Bertacca- Tania Collani - Chiara Elefante - Marina Guglielmi - Maryline Heck - Richard Hillman - Reinhard Johler - Stephen Knight - Cesare Mascitelli - Sonia Massai - Aurélie Moioli - Maria de Fátima Silva - Bart Van Den Bossche 

Editorial Staff: Margaret Amatulli - Alessandra Calanchi - Riccardo Donati - Ivo Klaver  - Massimiliano Morini - Antonella Negri - Luca Renzi

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