Wordsworth and the Poetry of Epitaphs


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  • Aware of conventional late-eighteenth-century literary taste, Wordsworth in the advertisement to Lyrical Ballads had already anticipated objections to the volume because of its stylistic "strangeness and awkwardness" or its use of language "too familiar, and not of sufficient dignity" to be acceptable as poetry His achievement in both his criticism and his poetry is to have reoriented literary taste toward a new language.

    The two main ideas of Wordsworth's preface to Lyrical Ballads center on the related issues of style and psychology, or as he put it, on the manner in which "language and the human mind act and re-act on each other" The first part of the argument concerns what sort of language--diction, rhetorical figures, syntax--is proper to poetry. Repudiating the "gaudiness and inane phraseology of many modern writers" , Wordsworth strives for what Coleridge later calls "an austere purity of language" Biographia The emphasis on simplicity of poetic language, which Wordsworth continues to urge in the appendix to the preface, derives from his contention that "humble and rustic life" provides "a more permanent, and a far more philosophical language, than that which is frequently substituted for it by Poets" Prose The radical nature of Wordsworth's declared swerve from conventional poetic diction, especially stock "poetic" vocabularies, cannot be overemphasized.

    Such a literary revolution, in which common life was described in common language, ordinary incidents were presented in an extraordinary aspect, and poetry sought nothing less than to reinvent its medium of words, was sometimes charged with banality and triviality; yet it was this new style in English poetry, claiming to be based on "a selection of the language really spoken by men" and self-consciously defining itself against previous "extravagant and absurd" styles , that paved the way for the modern idiom in poetry.

    In conjunction with his stress on purity of diction Wordsworth argues for simplicity of rhetoric and syntax. His statement that "there neither is, nor can be, any essential difference between the language of prose and metrical composition" affirms a desire for natural word order, grammar, and sentence structure in poetry, as distinct from the corrupt style of earlier poets; and his aversion to certain rhetorical figures, especially "personifications of abstract ideas" in the eighteenth-century manner , shows his deliberate move away from what he perceived to be another mechanical artifice.

    The other main concern of the preface is the process of the poet's mind in creation and the reader's mind in the act of reading. By defining good poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" arising from "emotion recollected in tranquillity" , Wordsworth participates in what M. Abrams calls an "expressive" aesthetics Mirror 21 , that is, a conception of poetry as the expression or manifestation of a psyche. Certainly it could be said that Romanticism generally is "expressive" in its theoretical underpinnings, and Wordsworth most clearly so in his extensive autobiographical poetry; but it should also be said that Wordsworth balances his theoretical emphasis on the "spontaneous overflow" of the poet's soul with what Abrams would call a "pragmatic" Mirror 14 awareness of the reader.

    Wordsworth and the Poetry of Epitaphs - D.D. Devlin - Google книги

    To the question "What is a Poet? This double focus, on both the character of the poet i.

    English Literature - William Wordsworth: poetic style and main themes

    As the hybrid genre of the "lyrical ballad" itself suggests, external incident ballad is subordinated to internal feeling lyric , in polemical contrast to what Wordsworth sees as the "degrading thirst after outrageous stimulation" in contemporary literature The neoclassical belief that poetry should give both pleasure and knowledge still stands in Wordsworth's theory, but with a new emphasis on the interaction of language and the human mind, on the way that a common style can express "the manner in which we associate ideas in a state of excitement" The preface to Poems, though not as widely read today as Wordsworth's earlier preface, is crucial to an understanding of his theory of imagination and fancy.

    After explaining the classification of his poems according to their psychological motivation, literary form, or subject, Wordsworth devotes the remainder of the preface to a discussion of the relation between the "divine" faculty imagination and the less creative faculty fancy.

    The Lucy poems

    The distinction, by no means absolute in either his theory or his practice, involves different processes of poetic selection and combination and different rhetorical or psychological effects. The "processes of imagination," Wordsworth writes, "are carried on either by conferring additional properties upon an object, or abstracting from it some of those which it actually possesses, and thus enabling it to re-act upon the mind which hath performed the process, like a new existence" To illustrate "the conferring, the abstracting, and the modifying powers of the Imagination" , Wordsworth quotes examples from Virgil, William Shakespeare, and John Milton, as well as from his own poetry, that involve either metaphor or metonymy.

    Metaphor "confers" qualities on the basis of identity or similarity; metonymy "abstracts" qualities on the basis of property or association. Rejecting seventeenth- and eighteenth-century empirical definitions of imagination as merely "a mode of memory" , an ability to image absent external objects in the mind, Wordsworth argues for imagination as "a word of higher import, denoting operations of the mind upon those objects, and processes of creation or of composition" Yeats William Butler Yeats, widely considered one of the greatest poets of the English language, Read more about W.

    Born in , Edgar Allan Poe had a profound impact on American and international literature as Materials for Teachers Materials for Teachers Home. Poems for Kids. Poems for Teens. Lesson Plans. Teach this Poem. Poetry Near You.

    http://modernpsychtraining.com/cache/high/qaxum-cell-monitoring.php Academy of American Poets. National Poetry Month. American Poets Magazine. Poets Search more than 3, biographies of contemporary and classic poets.


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    • William Wordsworth — Texts Year Title Prev 1 Next. Collections Year Title Prev 1 Next. Read poems by this poet. Read texts about this poet. No motion has she now, no force; She neither hears nor sees; Rolled round in earth's diurnal course, With rocks, and stones, and trees.

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