WORDSWORTH for KABBALISTS
An Introduction to the Esoteric Basis of
with Peter Brennan
…Them the enduring and the transient both
Serve to exalt. They build up greatest things
From least suggestions, ever on the watch,
Willing to work and to be wrought upon.
They need not extraordinary calls
To rouse them: in a world of life they live,
By sensible impressions not enthralled,
But quickened, roused, and made thereby more fit
To hold communion with the invisible world…
Hence sovereignty within and peace at will,
Emotion which best foresight need not fear,
Most worthy then of trust when most intense;
Hence cheerfulness in every act of life;
Hence truth in moral judgments and delight
That fails not in the external universe.
THE PRELUDE (1805) Book XIII, 97 – 119
Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 January
15:30 – 18:00 GMT via Zoom
(Waiting room will open at 15:00 GMT)
Cost: £55. Please use the PayPal link at the bottom of the page, or send funds to PayPal using Peter’s email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Handouts: The course handout will be emailed to you early in the New Year, or subsequently as soon as you join the course,
Zoom Platform: The Zoom link will be sent out several hours in advance of the first session.
Following his Paradise Lost for Kabbalists in January 2021, Peter Brennan now offers an exploration of the work of one of the great Romantic poets who wrote in the aftermath of that epic.
Wordsworth revolutionised the ways in which poetry illuminates the relationship of the individual to the divine. His insights into the purposes and potential of incarnation are at the very heart of his poetic project.
Starting with a consideration of the Intimations of Immortality Ode, we shall reflect on a number of crucial passages from his innovatory psychological epic, The Prelude, in which the truth of spiritual understanding is challenged by ‘man’s unhappiness and guilt’ and by the increasingly powerful materialistic tendencies of his age. Wordsworth’s reassertion of faith in the transcendent reality of life is one of the most exhilarating achievements of English poetry – speaking with compelling eloquence to the contradictions, complexities, and antagonisms of our own time. The course concludes with Coleridge’s last major poem in which he pays tribute to his friend for revealing ‘the foundations and the building up/Of a Human Spirit.’
No previous knowledge is required. What can seem daunting, quickly becomes accessible and enjoyable once it is read aloud and clarified.
Peter Brennan has studied Kabbalah in Warren Kenton’s school for over 20 years. He was for many years Head of English at The Latymer School in north London and has subsequently taught over 60 courses at City Lit College in central London. Peter especially enjoys disclosing the esoteric basis of English poetry, from Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare to the present day, and intends the Wordsworth course to be the first in a sequence illuminating the esoteric underpinnings of Romantic poetry.
Peter Brennan’s teaching shows literature to be an engagement with the most serious questions of moral, emotional, and spiritual life. His vast and detailed knowledge of texts allows him to challenge his students, and himself, to find new orientations in life through reading, study, and discussion. His teaching can help people, and it continues to help me, to make meaning out of literature and of life.
– Dr. Tom Jones, Senior Lecturer and Director of Research in English, University of St Andrews