|previous article in this issue||next article in this issue|
Document Details :
Title: "That Serene and Blessed Mood" - Mystical Discourse in Wordsworth and Whitman: A Transatlantic Bridge
Author(s): MOORES, D.J.
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 14 Date: 2004
One of the profoundest connections between Wordsworth and Whitman is the mystical discourse both poets employ. This ‘sentiment of being over all that moves’, this sense of all things encompassed by a ‘vast similitude’, pervades the verse of both poets; it informs not only their ontology and epistemology but also their ideas on self, nature, language, poetics, and religion. What I would like to suggest in particular is that the type of mysticism found in both poets resists classification; there is a certain measure of indeterminacy in it that prevents one from calling it Taoist, Zen, Sufi, Native American, or shamanic without also being unable to account for certain elements in such a reading. Both poets employed mystical language as a means of trancending Western modes of ideation, as a way to free themselves from the shackles of the Enlightment cult of reason. In doing so they were able to delve to deeper levels of the human experience than Enlightment discourse, with its slavish adherence to reason, would allow.