Date of Award
Thesis open access
Romanticism has often inspired questions about itinerancy, displacement, and nostalgia, with scholars such as Stuart Curran and Kevis Goodman arguing that the period is defined by placelessness and, as a result of that, homesickness. Yet, despite the implicit existence of a home in relation to these concepts, “home” as a place, or as a feeling, has not been so thoroughly explored in much of the literature. My thesis addresses the issues of home and belonging, with special attention to the role of nostalgia, as well as biographical aspects of the authors’ lives. Specifically, in my project, I am looking at the poetry of William Wordsworth and Percy Bysshe Shelley, two central Romantic figures whose lives were largely defined by itinerancy and a search for a place to call “home.” Looking at shorter and longer forms, I will discuss how each poet develops an understanding of home, wherever, with whomever, or with whatever it may be found. I will argue, essentially, that both poets search for a close-knit community of intellectuals with whom he may establish a kind of home, but while Wordsworth largely succeeds, Shelley does not. The poets also each seek a “power” in the world around them, with which he might connect to the larger universe, feeling, then, “at home” wherever that feeling might be accessed. Thus, by closely examining each poet’s treatment of ideas of home, this project can shed new light on a crucial aspect of the theme of displacement and itinerancy that has concerned Romanticists for so long.
Heffner, Samantha, "Homeward Bound: Wordsworth, Shelley, and the Long Search for Home" (2017). English Honors Theses. 28.