Wordsworth’s take on the French revolution cast in doubt by a French corpus n-gram

Wordsworth on the revolution “as it appeared to enthusiasts at its commencement”:

Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!

But, taking into account a lag between experience and publication, the rapid pre-revolutionary ascent of joie de vivre appears to have ended well before the Bastille was stormed:

I’m afraid, however, that only a really nervous poet would be put off by this kind of rubbish.

Similar posts

Last updated 12/06/2011

This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

France (228):

French Revolution (1): The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789.

Joie de vivre (1): Joie de vivre is a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit. It "can be a joy of conversation, joy of eating, joy of anything one might do… And joie de vivre may be seen as a joy of everything, a comprehensive joy, a philosophy of life, a Weltanschauung.

Kaleboel (4307):

Poetry (6):

Reign of Terror (1): The Reign of Terror, or The Terror, is the label given by most historians to a period during the French Revolution after the First French Republic was established. Several historians consider the "reign of terror" to have begun in 1793, placing the starting date at either 5 September, June or March, while some consider it to have begun in September 1792, or even July 1789, but there is a consensus that it ended with the fall of Maximilien Robespierre in July 1794.Between June 1793 and the end of July 1794, there were 16,594 official death sentences in France, of which 2,639 were in Paris.

Republicanism (2):

Romantic poetry (1): Romantic poetry is the poetry of the Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century.

William Wordsworth (2): William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth's magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semi-autobiographical poem of his early years that he revised and expanded a number of times.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *