Piagetian Epistemology of William Wordsworth. A Reconsideration of the Poet's Genius

Author: Terranella, Ronald
The purpose is to resolve long-standing questions regarding Wordsworth's claim to philosophic consideration. It turns to the modern theoretical premises of empirical psychologist Jean Piaget for clues to a more cogent interpretation. The remarkable parallels between Wordsworth's insights and Piaget's empirical observations give fresh indication of the poet's genius. Piagetian relativism provides a theoretical framework for appreciating elements in his works which have hitherto seemed irreconcilable philosophically: it reveals the presence of system in the poet's thought.


“. . . bold and inventive. He not only gives us a new view of Wordsworth,, he shows how Wordsworth may contribute to an understanding of what is meant by ‘knowledge’. . . . as Terranella shifts back and forth from Piaget’s insights to Wordsworth’s poetry, the poetry allows us to better experience the dance between the knower and the known in all its complex beauty.” – Peter Spader

“This study will be of considerable value to students of literature, as well as those interested in issues both philosophical and psychological.” – John Dolis

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface, Acknowledgments
1. The Problem: Purpose of Study; Preliminary Objections; Related Literature
2. Piaget's Departure from Tradition: the Classical Tradition; Piaget vs. the Classical Tradition; the Empiricist Tradition; Piaget vs. the Empiricist Tradition; Basic Tenets of Piaget and Romantic Poetic Thought
3. The Theory of Genetic Epistemology: the Stages; the Role of Environment; Affectivity
4. Wordsworth and Contrary Claims: Wordsworth and the Claims of Empiricism; Wordsworth and the Claims of Idealism
5. Wordsworth and the Principle of Adaptation
6. Feeling and the Secondary Power
7. The Prime and Vital Principle
Bibliography and Index