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Thinking Through PoetryField Reports on Romantic Lyric$
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Marjorie Levinson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198810315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198810315.001.0001

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Of Being Numerous

Of Being Numerous

(p.169) 7 Of Being Numerous1
Thinking Through Poetry

Marjorie Levinson

Oxford University Press

The chapter offers a reading of Wordsworth’s “I wandered lonely as a Cloud.” It reviews standard readings of this canonical poem, all built upon a premise of dialectical subject formation. In lieu of that approach, the interpretation developed here emphasizes the emergence of singularity out of multiplicity. It is governed by a structure of thought developed by Spinoza and present-day commentators, and by reference to an early nineteenth-century theory of cloud formation. The discussion of singularity and multiplicity is rooted in number theory. Key resources for this reading are, in addition to Spinoza, mathematician Georg Cantor, physicist David Bohm, and contemporary cultural theorists William Connolly, Luke Howard, Warren Montag, and Tim Morton.

Keywords:   William Wordsworth, Spinoza, Georg Cantor, David Bohm, clouds, singularity, multiplicity, lyric poetry, Romanticism, literary theory

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