William Wordsworth's Preface of Lyrical Ballads
In an analogous way to the advertisement which was included in the first version of Lyrical Ballads, expanded then into the Preface of the next editions, I will explain my purpose in a few lines concerning the issue treated in this paper. The analysis carried chiefly on the revolutionary aspect of Wordsworth's proposition which claim for a turn tothe most natural poetry, that of the communication of bare feelings, in prose or in verse, without deviating them towards the route of inexpressive poetry based on the repetition of older successful forms forcing them into false and corrupter poetry from which actually the reader cannot infere true pleasure from it. In order to get the full meaning from this assertion, this paper decodifies themain aspects, such as those concerning language, matter or subject, style, and also includes a little meditation about the poet and his paper as the source which sets the primary force on nature to stimulate the reader through it, opposed to what was being practiced in the eighteen century poetry which sets on nature the stimulus itself requiring no force because it is inherent in nature itself.To start with, Wordsworth declares that Lyrical Ballads is an experiment and he set himself in opposition to the writers of the eighteen century who had imposed on poetry artificial conventions that distorted its free and natural impression, forcing classic structures into a meaningless poetry unable of elevating the reader to a state of excitement. Furthermore, the language used in itprogressively had come to create a gap between and the language used by the common men making, even harder, any achievement of pleasure impossible. Instead he proposed a new poetry which rejects the artificiality of the former times and seeks “to make the incidents of common life interesting by tracing in them, (…) the primary laws of our nature” (244/245), so to do this with success turns into the languageof common rural men in which “(…) the passions of men are incorporated with the beautiful and permanents forms of nature.” (245). It is also remarkable the idea of composition as spontaneous and free from all rational impulse promoting a liberation from the judgments of the rational faculty in order to be guide basically by intuitions and the feelings of the heart: “For all good poetry is thespontaneous overflow of powerful feelings (…) from emotion recollected in tranquility (…)” (266).
Wordsworth’s new poetic theory introduced some changes and one of them was one concerning the subject of poetry which seems to have worried him in some degree since expressions such “I have at all times endeavored to look steadily at my subject” are repeated in the Preface. In the former timesdescription of the nature was carried by the poet like a mirror in imitation of human like put into a designed order but Wordsworth uses the description of nature to describe his inner feelings, the stimulus is not given by nature itself but by the author’s feelings toward it which are irradiated into nature in order to charge it with the force needed to create in the reader some stimulus from which getpleasure. The interest was not fixed in the outer world anymore but in the individual, his inner feelings which are described through the previous irradiation on nature. Humble and common rural life is elevated into the proper matter of poetry“(…) to make the incident of common life interesting (…)” (244), thus treating it in a way it could awake our sense of wonder, refreshing descriptions offamiliar objects as well as unique ones.
To continue with the style of the compositions and connecting the theme with the language employed in them, Wordsworth rejects the traditional poetic diction which has been exploited by some many authors, ones executed it naturally and from passion and used a powerful figurative language but others who, aware of the potential it carried, produced it...
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