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Neoclassical criticism had stressed that writers should seek inspiration in the literary and artistic works of the past, particularly the Greek and Latin ones. Therefore, neoclassical criticism conceived art as imitation. On the contrary, different romantic critics stressed the importance of the expression of the authors' own feelings and their observations of contemporary realities. The "Preface" to the Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth and Coleridge, for example, conceives poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings". When they looked at the past for inspiration, Romantic critics did not turn to the Latin and Greek classics, but to the darker and more spiritual era of the Middle-Ages. In its celebration of creativity, Romantic criticism also depicted the author as a genius, as someone standing above the rest of the people and of society.
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