Preface to Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth begins with a discussion of the gathering of poems, written mostly by Wordsworth with contributions by S.T. Coleridge. Originally published in 1798, in 1800, Wordsworth added an earlier version of the Preface, which he extended two years later. Because he felt his poems were of a replacement theme and elegance, Wordsworth felt they needed an introduction. Some scholars say that Coleridge wanted to write down the preface, but never got around thereto, therefore the work fell to Wordsworth instead. because the majority of the poems within the collection are by Wordsworth, this was probably a more appropriate choice, though there’s the suggestion in many Coleridge’s later writings that the 2 disagreed about what the Preface should say. within the Preface, Wordsworth writes that the aim of the gathering was to write down poems that addressed things that happen in lifestyle. most significantly, Wordsworth considered each poem within the collection to be an experiment in language usage or diction. He wanted to seek out out if conversational language might be used effectively in poetry.
What, then, is poetry? Wordsworth sets bent to define this particular sort of art. within the Preface to Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth outlines his definition of the character and performance of poetry—as well as identifying the qualities that make someone a real poet. For Wordsworth, poetry must reflect spontaneity and an “overflow of powerful feelings.” Passion is vital, as are mood and temperament. Although poetry must emerge from spontaneity, it must not be written spontaneously. Rather, Wordsworth asserts that a poem should be the result of long and deep reflection. He also cautions against being too concerned with the poetic rules of Classicism.
Next, Wordsworth breaks down the poet’s process into four stages. the primary is observation. A person, object, or situation must stimulate powerful emotions within the Romantic poet, and people’s observations must be noted. Recollection follows, which is that the stage when the poet contemplates those observations. For this, tranquility may be a must. Memories may surface that are days old or older, and therefore the poet should contemplate those memories to explore how the emotions they provoke relate to past experiences. The third stage is filtering, when the poet clears the mind of all non-essential elements. The result of this is often that the poet’s personal experience becomes relevant to a wider audience. It’s not until the fourth and end that the poet should begin to compose. The goal is to precise emotions during a way that the reader will understand, and may therefore contemplate.
Wordsworth’s next topic is imagination. He begins by discussing how the neo-classicists defined imagination. They said that the mind was passive, and recorded sensations. Imagination, therefore, may be a function of memory combined with the power to associate those sensations with other things that will or might not exist. He provides the instance of mythical creatures, which elicit, in literature, real sensations. For Romantics like Wordsworth, imagination is far more creative. instead of assigning recorded sensations to other objects, the imagination has the facility to make a replacement reality and to ascertain beyond the fabric world surrounding the poet. As for what to write down about, Wordsworth states that poetry can capture any and each subject that’s of interest to the mind. What matters isn’t whether a topic is poetic, but rather, whether the poet can add aiming to a topic and thus make it poetic. Suddenly, themes from common life are often poetic and deserve the contemplation Wordsworth requires of the poet. the rationale this works, consistent with his argument, is that those that live a country lifestyle are closer to nature—and therefore farther faraway from vanity bred by artifice.
Next, Wordsworth dives deeper into the function of poetry. Unlike the classicists, who value art for the sake of art—the concept art should be produced no matter any moral values or concerns–Wordsworth and therefore the Romantics believe art for the sake of life. That is, Wordsworth sees the function of poetry as ennobling the reader through the teaching of ethical and philosophical values and ideals.
Finally, Wordsworth discusses in greater depth the diction of poetry. Diction is essentially the utilization of language, but more specifically, it’s the selection of words, phrases, sentence structures, and even figurative language. While diction is vital altogether of literature, Wordsworth places particular importance on its role in poetry because it’s the poet’s medium. Whereas prose also has characters, setting, and plot to convey a message, the poet’s choice of language, or diction, is that the sole means of expression in poetry. Despite this, Wordsworth argues that the diction of poetry and prose is that the same, and criticizes the neo-classicists for his or her “artificial” and “unnatural” language. Passion should drive diction, not ornament, dignity, or meter. He wants poetry to center on rustic, humble situations using rustic, humble language. consistent with Wordsworth, that’s the important source of poetic truth and wonder.