Spacial memory as place in Wordsworth's The Excursion and Rousseau's Reveries of a Solitary Walker
Keywords:Body Memory, Localization of Memory, Intersubjective Memory, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, William Wordsworth
This essay takes as its point of departure the idea that we usually experience ourselves in relation to place. The conception of human identity as bound up with the sense of place is not a specifically romantic phenomenon. However, in romanticism place acquires a new significance: it is linked through memory to the events experienced by the self. Thus the romantic self is constituted not only through memory understood as a temporal category but also as a spatial category. Such reading of the chosen romantic texts is contrary to the well-established readings, which prioritize the mind of the writer over the material world. However paradoxical it may seem to regard Rousseau and Wordsworth as ‘bodily writers’, acutely aware of the significance of place, Reveries of a Solitary Walker and The Excursion reveal writers aware of man as a physical being and of his capacity to remember through the body. Therefore, through phenomenological readings of the afore-mentioned texts (drawing on Bachelard, Casey, and Malpas) I will explore the relationship between the mind and the place through such concepts as ‘body memory’, localization of memory, and intersubjective memory.
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