Preface to Lyrical Ballads Questions and Answers
by William Wordsworth

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How does William Wordsworth link imagination to poetry in his "Preface to Lyrical Ballads"?

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Lyrical Ballads was first published in 1798. Co-authors William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge broke a lot of new ground and created a quite revolutionary text. Before what is termed the Romantic Period, poetry was defined by and praised for its stringent format, obvious and convoluted syntax (sentence structure and word order), and lofty topic choice. The Ideal poem adhered to a very set meter, rhyme scheme, and / or line length. Furthermore, the Ideal poem adhered to very specific subject matter that tended to be focused more toward “high” art and society (some good examples of this are Alexander Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock” and John Donne’s Meditations). Though imagination is certainly inherent in any creative text, the authors of Lyrical Ballads were of the opinion that such stringent control of a poem limited imagination. And they set out to change this.

Wordsworth and Coleridge believed that poetry should be accessible to all people, that it should be stripped of the...

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