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Extra info for British Influence on the Birth of American Literature
As he explained in 'Nature' ( r 844) there were times 'when everything that has life gives a sign of satisfaction, and the cattle that lie on the ground seem to have great and tranquil thoughts'. Emerson's last phrase here, 'tranquil thoughts', is an adaptation of the phrase 'tranquil restoration' from Wordsworth's major poem dealing with nature's cleansing power, 'Tintern Abbey'. In 'Tintern Abbey' Wordsworth experiences 'sensations sweet' through contact with nature, in which 'the heavy and weary weight/Of all this unintelligible world/Is lightened'.
Here, however, Bryant once again lapses into a general, stilted Man, Nature and Wordsworth: American Versions 37 description of nature which undermines the emotional sincerity. The parallels between 'Tintern Abbey' and 'A Winter Piece' (1821) reveal that Bryant's appreciation of the cleansing and healing power of nature was due mainly to Wordsworth's influence. But Bryant's own attempt to write about this particular aspect of nature involves a typically European romanticism of the wild solitudes of America.
III Emerson, living in the heyday of Jacksonian democracy which stressed the importance of the common man, was particularly enthusiastic about Wordsworth's men. As early as 1821, when he was otherwise cautious about Wordsworth's poetry, Emerson quarrelled with those who considered Wordsworth's choice of persons vulgar or ridiculous : 54 British Influence on the Birth of American Literature Mr. Wordsworth's choice of persons lay him open to ridicule, but of this he seems entirely independent. He designed to take man where all mankind meet, above the reach of the arbitrary distinctions of rank or fashion upon the open ground of naked human nature ; and it would have been preposterous to have introduced for the purposes of his philosophical dialogue the personages of heraldry ....