What are the main features of Wordsworth's critical work?

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Unlike his friend Coleridge, Wordsworth did not write much criticism, partly because, by his own admission, he was uncomfortable writing prose. However, his Preface to Lyrical Ballads, the volume he and Coleridge published together, is probably as famous as any other piece of criticism in English literature. In it, Wordsworth sought to establish new standards for poetry which, we see in retrospect, were in many ways the foundation of the Romantic movement or were at least an articulation of what was already developing in the poetry of his time.

If I were to summarize the key points in the Preface, I would divide them, perhaps somewhat too matter-of-factly, into principles Wordsworth seeks to establish regarding the content appropriate to poetry, on the one hand, and the form or language appropriate to it, on the other. For Wordsworth, poetry should deal with "incidents and situations from common life." This would seem, at first sight, an extraordinarily broad range for the content of...

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