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Discuss Wordsworth as a Romantic poet. 

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shewa55 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 8, 2013 at 5:15 PM via web

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Discuss Wordsworth as a Romantic poet. 

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 8, 2013 at 7:11 PM (Answer #1)

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As a poet, Wordsworth exemplified the Romantic ideal of writing about individual, subjective, emotional experiences and these often deal with connecting to Nature. Wordsworth coined the phrase that poetry is "the spontaneous overflow of emotion recollected in tranquility." In his "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood," Wordsworth writes of how he, as an adult, tries to recall the intimate connection to nature that he'd experienced as a child. Wordsworth shares a similar sentiment in "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey." Although he can not experience the world with the same wonder he did as a child, he is more wise and profound. And he is more able to rely on his imagination and memory in recreating emotional and subjective experiences. In "Tintern Abbey," Wordsworth hopes his sister, Dorothy, will develop the same ability: 

When these wild ecstasies shall be matured

Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind

Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,

Thy memory be as a dwelling place (138-41) 

In recalling such experiences with a vivid imagination, Wordsworth intends to go to that place in his mind, that "dwelling place," thus having a transcendent experience, transcending to another place: a place in the mind. Wordsworth's purposes in writing poetry and experiencing the world are to embrace his emotions and channel his imagination to bring about experiences and memories which connect him to nature and others in an individual, yet spiritual (or transcendent) way. 

In the "Preface to Lyrical Ballads," Wordsworth essentially writes the Romantic manifesto. He proposed to write about common lives and to present ordinary things (such as a daffodil) in extraordinary ways. Speaking of "emotion recollected in tranquility," Wordsworth adds: 

the emotion is contemplated till by a species of reaction the tranquility gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind. 

In an individual, reflective mood/meditation, Wordsworth deems that the poet must link inspiration and emotional experience to an imaginative source of creation. He uses external experiences to inform and inspire his inner creativity: a connection between experience and reflection. 

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