By Andrew J. Welburn (auth.)
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Additional resources for The Truth of Imagination: An Introduction to Visionary Poetry
Indeed he delights in the conflicts of drama and a baffling many-sidedness. He includes the restlessness of the human spirit in his vision, and certainly will not limit his search for satisfaction to nature alone. He registers also the longing for a transcendent freedom, together with all the inner contradictions which make up his representative man or Faustian quester. ' Then bind me with your fatal chain, For I will perish in that day. 'Tis I for whom the bell shall toll, Then you are free, your service done.
It is the strength of imagination that it can grapple with the unique, the ironic, even the grotesque as well as the sublime, or the ideal. It grasps the essence of what Blake calls the 'Minute Particular', not in the sense of the detail alone, but the atypical and irreducible, the unrepeatable. 'Chance' and 'subjectivity' make the course of life 'a parcel of nonsensical contingencies' (Sterne); it is only imagination which can tell us how to recover meaning from it, only imagination which can show, in the words of another novelist, how 'it all hangs together in the deepest sense' (D.
He insists on the compensations of his subsequent adult consciousness ('years that bring the philosophic mind') and the more balanced appreciation of nature he has attained without the transports and haunting passions of his youth. His experiment of turning the light of imagination full upon nature, however, has been productive of a great deal in our modern sense of the value of the environment. So much so that without him the widespread appreciation today of natural beauty and perhaps the concept of nature-conservation would be largely unthinkable.