Excerpt from The Enchafèd Flood: Or the Romantic Iconography of the Sea
Revolutionary changes in sensibility or style are rare. The most famous is, perhaps, the conception of 'amor' which appeared in Europe in the twelfth century. The disappearance, during the sixteenth, of allegory as a common literary genre is another. The complex of attitudes and styles which emerges towards the end of the eighteenth century and is called, more conveniently than accurately, Romanticism is a third.
These chapters are an attempt to understand the nature of Romanticism through an examination of its treatment of a single theme, the sea.
Near the beginning of the fifth book of The Prelude, Wordsworth describes in some detail a dream. It is, perhaps, an indication that, to him, this dream was of particular importance, that the 1805 and the 1850 versions differ. In the first it is assigned to a friend, in the second to Wordsworth himself. This is the 1805 text.
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