Supernatural Naturalism

"Es tan dificil hacerles entender": Natural Supernaturalism in Unamuno's San Manuel Bueno, Martir
Though western custom usually demands distinction between the concepts of natural and supernatural, the two may be considered inseparable, so closely linked that drawing a line where one ends and the other begins proves difficult.Nineteenth century English Romantic writers Wordsworth and Coleridge (if you will, the generation of 1798) saw this relationship, and Wordsworth states in the "Preface" to Lyrical Ballads that his aim was "to throw over'situations from common life. . . a certain coloring of imagination, whereby ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual aspect'" (Norton 11).Further, it was Wordsworth's intention to "shake us, out of the lethargy of custom so as to refresh our sense of wonder-indeed, of divinity-in the everyday, the trivial, and the familiar" (Norton 11).Shelley shared this vision and, in his Defense of Poetry, states that poetry "purges from our inner sight the film of familiarity which obscures from us the wonder of our being and "creates anew the universe. . . " (Abrams 11). Born about the same time as Lyrical Ballads was published in 1798, the Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle termed this understanding "natural supernaturalism."Carlyle argues that "nature remains of quite infinite depth, of quite infinite expansion" and he likens human beings to minnows whose native creek, because of custom, has become familiar but who do not see the connection with the ocean (Carlyle 1000-1001).A seed performs a miraculous act when it comes in contact with soil and moisture; but because of custom, we don't recognize the miracle.For Carlyle, as for Wordsworth, habit or custom may blunt our recognition of the miraculous, but everything experienced is "a miracle of supernatural and inexplic…

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