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wordsworth's preface to lyrical ballads critical comment on it?

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swara | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 31, 2011 at 12:36 PM via web

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wordsworth's preface to lyrical ballads critical comment on it?

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avizo | Student , Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 2, 2011 at 2:14 AM (Answer #1)

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William Wordsworth's preface to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads" is a major expression of the spirit of English Romanticism. This present essay simply shifts emphasis from the relationship between poem and reader to that between poet and poem. But it does not mean that Wordsworth gives up the concern for his reader. He is deep interested in speaking to the reader by the moral effect of his work. Nevertheless, he defines the poem primarily in term of its author's creative activity. He approaches the idea of poem after discussing the idea of poet. In this sense, a poet is a man who speaks to men; he has great knowledge of human nature, and a mass comprehensive soul. It is true that a poet is endowed with more lively sensibility,more enthusiasm and tenderness. He is the one who can be affected more by imaginingthings. William Wordsworth then goes on to describe the poem as the result of those power and activities. It is a ‘spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” It means poetry is an expression, or overflow or utterance of feelings or as the product of poet's imagination, operating on his or her perceptions, thoughts and feelings. There is the dominance of feeling over intellect. In fact, feeling becomes the real basis of imagination, which is the power to grasp natural in its totality and to order one's experience. Therefore, Wordsworth talks about the expression of emotion. He gives importanceto emotion and feeling rather than intellect in poetic creation. But poetry is not the imitation of human action, as Aristotle believes; rather it is expression of emotion. For him, source of poetry lies either in nature or in poet's heart. Language expresses the natural form and it is closer to rural life. It must be a simple and lucid language of common people. Simple, concrete language expresses a close relationship to the permanent forms of nature, which he associates with rural speech and rural life. Wordsworth stands against the decorated language as new- classical artists used in their work of art. He deliberately opposed it because it veils the reality of nature but simple and rustic language uncovers and reveals the natural spirit. As the subject matter of poetry is incidents andsituations of common life, there must be common language. The essential passion of the heart finds a better soil in humble and rustic life, in which passion can attain the maturity. According to him, meter and rhyme can be used for pleasure but withoutconscious craftsmanship. He says that the poet has to observe the rustic life but at the sometime he stands against imitation of human action. Poetry is not an imitation of imitation, unlike Plato. But it is concrete and sensuous illustration of both fact and relationship, which provides pleasure and atthe sametime shows the universal importance of pleasure.

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