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2014 09 20 This flick imagines Wordsworth, brother and sister, and Coleridge, with wife and child, living and working together to produce the Lyrical Ballads. I knew this material, or at least I used to: love much of it: read Ancient Mariner & Kubla Khan to Jan a couple of years ago. I pause the stream to commend how they imagined the Mariner portion. Marvelous, tears streaming down my face.
Only one other thing could be thought of to be as good, and it should be experienced as even better: the movie climaxes with the preservation of Kubla Khan, recited by an opium mad Dorothy (who has some caverns-measureless-to-man herself).
I’ve got key samples of my fiction here: I really ought to post an academic paper or two, my paper on Xanadu for Kenneth Neal Cameron: good paper, another draft might make it really good (though that draft should have been written in the 1960s, not now, not by this old man.)
I portion discussion of some associations here and into other modules as I can: communes, imagining biographical details for known creations …
We know a lot about these people, Dorothy Wordsworth, dear girl, too, Sarah also (and their daughter Sarah). Still, a lot of this is invented. Fine by me, go, go, go.
Great things, and things to stub a toe on. The menage a quatres is visited by John Thelwall, radical journalist who’s been crushed in the Tower. They embrace him, feed him, especially Sarah Coleridge: then find themselves spied upon: so they kick him out, these revolutionaries, turn him loose, no where to go. He’s pictured walking off carrying the belongings most precious to him, a stack of books!
Moderns have no idea how valuable books used to be: even in the 1790s: still, what a stupid cross to carry, especially after the jailers have mangled his right hand.
In an earlier interruption I went and skimmed some of Dorothy’s journal.
Wonderful to learn that Dorothy wrote glowingly about daffodils before William penned his famous lyric: and William doesn’t mention it! (I don’t think.)
Wonderful to see Sarah and Dorothy being so free and liberal and liberated, smashing tabbos … and being ignored and under-credited by the famous rebels, their brother and husband.
I really love Dorothy (and this portrait): I think I love Sarah too: and I don’t love William and Sam nearly so much as formerly.
The movie makes excellent graphic use of the leisure with which some liquids, absinthe, laudanum … mix with water: slow chaos-coiling tendrils.
Southey gets a corner. Byron gets a couple of scenes, a couple of lines.
In college I avoided the Romantics, caught up on some Elizabethans. So in grad school I tried to give the Romantics a small share, put my nose to Byron but good. I read plenty about the Byrons and the Shelleys, Mary W Shelley and this and that other girl, all living together, writing together, getting drunk etc.; I had less exposure to WW & STC though I knew tey worked together, knew Southey fit somehow, and Lamb. Goldilocks was fit nicely. WW and RS’s sinecures done nicely. So: glad for the fill in, very glad.
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