Study Guide

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798 Contrasting Regions

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Contrasting Regions

We always appreciate peace and quiet the most when we've just escaped from a lot of noise and clatter. The world of "Tintern Abbey" is no different. The speaker has done his time in cities and towns, and he missed the heck out of the country while he was there. While he was in the city, he was sustained only by his memories of the beauty of nature. In actual fact, Wordsworth did spend a year or so in London, and wrote about the experience in his semi-autobiographical poem, The Prelude. Suffice to say, London was not his favorite place.

Questions About Contrasting Regions

  1. Could the speaker have developed his transcendental relationship with nature if he had not spent some of the intervening time in "towns and cities" (26)?
  2. What role does the city, or civilization more generally, play in the transformation the speaker imagines for his sister?
  3. Is it possible to develop the transcendental consciousness of the "presence" in Nature as a constant dweller of "towns and cities" (26)?
  4. The speaker describes the sensation of being overwhelmed, or made "dizzy" (85), by the beauty of nature. Is the city more or less overwhelming? How so?

Chew on This

The speaker of "Tintern Abbey" is only able to develop his consciousness of the "presence" in Nature because he spent some of the intervening years in "towns and cities" (26).

In "Tintern Abbey," the speaker's development is actually hindered by the time spent in "towns and cities" (26).

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