What was the phillosophy of the Romantic poets Coleridge and Wordsworth?
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The answer to this question can be found in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads, written by Wordsworth. Lyrical Ballads itself included many poems by Wordsworth as well as Coleridge, and so the preface can be said to represent the guiding philosophy of both poets, at least at that point in their careers. Wordsworth argued that the goal of good poetry ought to be the expression of authentic human experience and emotions, the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings." He claimed that the poetry of the eighteenth century had obscured these pursuits by an excessive reliance on allegory, symbolism, and complex, artificial tricks of diction. So the poems in Lyrical Ballads would be stripped of such extraneous matter, focusing instead on the sublime beauty that could be found in everyday human experience and expressed in ordinary human language.
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