“What is most important for us to see, however, is that the poem would lose all its force and character did it not operate at an ideological level” (68).

“So, in the second stanza Wordsworth manipulates the initial ‘problem’ of unconsciousness into an avenue of resolution… It is the visionary’s task and privilege to decipher these signs – in particular, the visionary poet’s task.  When Romantic poems deal with Nature and Imagination, then, they are invoking a specific network of doctrinal material.  Ecological Nature is the locus of what is stable and orderly, and it is related to Imagination as a set of vital hieroglyphs is related to an interpretive key” (69).

McGann argues that, in romanticism “poetry, and art in general, has no essential relation to partisan, didactic, or doctrinal matters.  Poetry transcends these things…. This conviction leads Shelley to his famous declaration: ‘Poetry is indeed something divine…'” (69).

Points to WW’s PLB – distinction b/w poetic truth and scientific knowledge, and to STC’s “Kantian-based theory of poetry” that depends on “the poetic event” or “the poetic experience… an encounter with ‘the One Life’… The polemic of Romantic poetry, therefore, is that it will not be polemical; its doctrine, that it is non-doctrinal; its ideology, that it transcends ideology” (70).

Blake’s “critical devices,” too, he argues, “are not innocent of ideology.  When his poems put traditional ideas to critical tests of various sorts, they do so in the conviction that the poetic vision reveals fundamental truth in a way which sets the poet apart from other men.  As a result, the testing critique which Romantic poems directs toward received ideas is always allied to a polemic on behalf of the special privilege of poetry and art” (70).

“The poetic response to the age’s severe political and social dislocations was to reach for solutions in the realm of ideas.  The maneuver follows upon a congruent Romantic procedure, which is to define human problems in ideal and spiritual terms” (71).

“The idea that poetry deals with universal and transcendent human themes and subjects is a culturally specific one…” (71).

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