Imaging Interiority: Photography, Psychology, and Lyric Poetry Academic Article uri icon


  • Considered together, William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience and William Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey" suggest how the romantic lyric anticipates photography. Offering up imagery deployed both graphically and typographically, these songs provide a model for the photographer's work of capturing inner states, thereby exploring what printed media up to 1810 could not. In thematizing the loss of sound, both poems produce a sense of psychological depth in the figure of a seer struggling to heat. Physical marks - whether printed texts or graphic images - are unified into a human perspective as (absent) phonology becomes associated with (present) morphology. These lyric poems teach us, in other words, to warm up cool graphic marks by anthropomorphizing them into a "voice," the voice that in subsequent decades will be conveyed by figures in photographs or photographers' ways of seeing.

published proceedings

  • Victorian Studies

author list (cited authors)

  • Mandell, L.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Mandell, Laura

publication date

  • January 2007