Magdalena Ostas deposited Wordsworth, Wittgenstein, and the Reconstruction of the Everyday in the group CLCS Romantic and 19th-Century on MLA Commons 1 year, 10 months ago
The connection between philosophy and real or everyday language belongs to Wordsworth’s early poetic vision. My interest in Wordsworth’s dialogue with philosophical thinking leads me to turn neither to studies tracing the varied philosophic influences on his poetics nor to those examining the influence of his collaborator Coleridge on his early poetic theory and practice. Instead, this essay turns to Wittgenstein, a philosopher who, very much like Wordsworth, gives almost exclusive and even obsessive attention to everyday language. This essay explores the deep and rarely noted conceptual affinity between Wordsworth’s conviction in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads that poetry should be written in “language really used by men” and Wittgenstein’s overarching desire in Philosophical Investigations to “bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use.” What occupies me in this essay is the epistemological priority both Wordsworth and Wittgenstein in this way assign to everyday language; I wonder throughout how it turns out in both Lyrical Ballads and Philosophical Investigations that the everyday is the philosophical, and how the singular attention to everyday language in both the case of the poet and the philosopher culminates in what one could call a novel epistemology.