This chapter establishes the seminal foundation of Romantic intellectual love in the early poetry of William Wordsworth. I take as a starting point Wordsworth’s emphasis on ‘intellectual love’ as well as his claim that ‘Love of Nature lead[s] to love of Mankind’, arguing that he develops a kind of critical-ecological thinking that leads to a love that ‘rolls through all things’. In particular, I trace the influence of Erasmus Darwin on the evolution of Wordsworth’s theory of love, revealing that the ideological illusion often attributed to Wordsworth’s love of nature has more to do with science than transcendent idealism. Together, Darwin and Wordsworth construct an incipient form of what we now call affective neuroscience with intellectual love at its core. Although there are instances in his writing where Wordsworth turns to sentimentalism, self-love, or idealism, I demonstrate how the interconnectedness of the natural world provides Wordsworth with an aesthetic model for envisioning intellectual love.
Liverpool Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.