Preface to Lyrical Ballads Questions and Answers
by William Wordsworth

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Describe Wordsworth's theory of poetry as explained in the preface to Lyrical Ballads.

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Wordsworth's theory of poetry as explained in his preface to Lyrical Ballads is based on several propositions. Poetry, Wordsworth argued, ought to arouse strong, profound feelings in the reader. The best way to do this, he thought, was to investigate themes and subjects from everyday life, and in language that was both accessible to readers and purged of artificial devices and "poetic diction." Poetry could thus reveal the power and depth of emotion in everyday life, sentiments that were obscured by many poets who viewed poetry as a means to show off their clever turns of phrase and use of puns. Shorn of these extraneous baggage, and focusing on familiar scenes, poetry could excite the reader's imagination.

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