What is mean by the term "lake poets."

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Lake Poets" is a term that a literary critic gave to the Romantic poets William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey.  The term was derived from the fact that the three of them spent time in the Lake District of England.

Interestingly enough, the term was meant as a form of derisive criticism.  Francis Jeffrey's use of the term was to describe the work that three produced, work that he saw as constructed on "anti-social principles."  The term and its critical qualities reflected how much the early Romantic thinkers were going against the grain. Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey were proponents of a way of thought that challenged the Status Quo.  They wanted to transform what was seen as poetry and art into something new.  Jeffrey and others like him that criticized the movement represented the system that the poets sought to challenge.  While the Lake District provided inspiration to the Romantic poets, the term "The Lake Poets" was meant as criticism and reflective of how radical to the early Romantics actually were.