On the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads

Published: 2021-06-29 06:38:15
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Category: English

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The Lyrical Ballads, composed by William Wordsworth in collaboration with his friend, Coleridge, was first published in the year 1798. The first edition, had neither of them mentioned as authors, while from the second onwards, the publication was under the name of William Wordsworth. However, in the Preface that came with the Second edition(and afterwards), Wordsworth acknowledges the help of his friends, trying to prepare the reader for the kind of Poetry in this work of theirs.
In the advertisement to the Preface, both Wordsworth and Coleridge, had announced that this was a form of poetical exploration, and indeed, an experiment of sorts. Wordsworth was, thus, all the more cautious about the reception to this volume of Poetry.

His preface is an attempt, to tell the reader that the kind of poetry in this volume, are quite unlike anything they have been used to before, describing the position of the poet, of poetry, and validating what he has tried to do in this work.

. This Preface to Lyrical Ballads is considered a central work of Romantic literary theory. In it, Wordsworth discusses what he sees as the elements of a new type of poetry, one based on the "real language of men" and which avoids the poetic diction of much 18th-century poetry. Here, Wordsworth gives his famous definition of poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility."

Wordsworth begins his "preface to Lyrical Ballads" by focusing on issues of style. He claims, "Humble and rustic life was generally chosen, because, in that condition, the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in which they can attain their maturity, are less under restraint, and speak a plainer and more emphatic language" (18). He believes that feelings "coexist in a state of greater simplicity" (18) and, as a result, are "more accurately contemplated, and more forcibly communicated" (18). From this perspective, Wordsworth is aiming the success of poetry as an art form at the human experience. His premise depends on the notion that poetry is meant to be a communication tool first and foremost. As a result, it is the responsibility of the poet to express him or herself in a manner appropriate. Wordsworth is correct in assuming that unless readers can gain pleasure from reading something they do not understand, the poet should descend from his or her "supposed height" and "express himself as other men express themselves" (23). This statement lies at the very heart of Wordsworth's notion." He does not proclaim a need to experiment with the established metres of poetry, finding them to be more like guidelines to his work. What he tries to change, is how people write and perceive poetry.

He writes - "In spite of difference of soil and climate, of language and manners, of laws

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