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Glenn, J. (1995). The Child Is Father of the Man: Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality and His Secret Sharers. Psychoanal. St. Child, 50:383-397.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 50:383-397

The Child Is Father of the Man: Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality and His Secret Sharers

Jules Glenn, M.D.

William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality” is manifestly about both the poet’s loss of inspirational perceptive powers and emotional intensity with age, and the compensations of maturity. It also refers to the poet’s fear that he might lose his “secret sharers,” real or fantasied, consciously or unconsciously conceived parent substitutes for whom and with whom one creates. Wordsworth anticipated that with his upcoming marriage he would lose his sister Dorothy and his close friend and collaborator Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who played important roles in his creativity. Optimism and relief replaced sadness when he realized that he was not deprived of his sharers. The concepts of “secret sharers” and “collective alternates” for whom one creates are intimately related.

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