Understanding the the Romantic Imagination with Ramond, Wordsworth and Shelley

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Understanding the the Romantic Imagination with Ramond, Wordsworth and Shelley
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"The way to find the 'real' world is not merely to measure and observe what is outside us, but to discover our own inner ground…. This 'ground', this 'world' where I am mysteriously present at once to myself and to the freedoms of other men, is not a visible, objective and determined structure…It is a living and self creating mystery of which I am myself a part, to which I am myself my own unique door."
(Thomas Merton in Finley 45)

We have spent a good deal of this semester concentrating on the sublime. We have asked what (in nature) is sublime, how is the sublime described and how do different writers interpret the
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M. Ramond's Observations on the Glaciers recounts his experiences while traveling in the Alps. His descriptions are characteristically sublime; in awe of his surroundings, Ramond is "threatened" yet astonished, "transformed" and "regenerated" yet aware of his insignificance (301 & 348-49). Ascending the mountains offers " the greatest force given to his imagination…that kind of enthusiasm which kindles great ideas" (349). Whereas his first experiences are paired dichotomies, the kindling of his imagination does not have an opposite but rather its own creations (ideas). Chronology is either indescribable or of no importance as it is difficult to understand what happens when during Ramond's sublime experience. Taking flight, his soul is able to "co exist with all beings" and transcend time and space (351). Imagination succeeds when reason cannot, offering a glimpse of eternity (351). All "elevated and noble sentiments" have their beginnings in the imagination (352). As a creator, it is fitting that the imagination is female (351). Ramond acknowledges that his experience is constructed of "illusions" but "…what would be great in our conceptions, or glorious in our actions", Ramond asks, if imaginative power did not exist? (352).

Inspired by his imaginative experience, Ramond articulates his final question as his

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