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, recounts his own intellectual, artistic, and philosophical growth from his youthful days in the Lake Country through his experiences with the French Revolution and the English government's reactions to it. Wordsworth's epic autobiographical poem embodies a romantic philosophy of nature — tempered by reason — that treats Mother Nature as man's greatest teacher and trusts in the Good within man.
The Prelude affords one of the best approaches to Wordsworth's poetry in general and to the philosophy of nature it contains. However, the apparent simplicity of the poem is deceptive; comprehension is seldom immediate. Many passages can tolerate two or more readings and afford new meaning at each reading. Wordsworth, it will be recalled, likened his projected great philosophical work to a magnificent Gothic cathedral. And he explained (in the Preface to The Excursian) that The Prelude was like an antechapel through which the reader might pass to gain access to the main body of the structure.
The poem begins in his boyhood and continues to 1798. By the latter date, he felt that his formative years had passed, that his poetic powers were mature, and that he was ready to begin constructing the huge parent work. Alternating with his almost religious conviction, there is an unremitting strain of dark doubt through the poem. The poem itself therefore may be considered an attempt to stall for time before going on to what the poet imagined would be far more difficult composition. As he tells the reader repeatedly, his purpose was threefold: to provide a reexamination of his qualifications, to honor Coleridge, and to create an introduction to The Recluse. It was actually finished in 1805 but was carefully and constantly revised until 1850, when it was published posthumously. It had been remarked that Wordsworth had the good sense to hold back an introductory piece until he was certain that what it was to introduce had some chance of being realized. Moreover, The Prelude contained passages which promised to threaten the sensibilities of others, as well as himself, during the rapidly changing course of events after 1805. The year 1805 is the approximate date of his conversion to a more conservative outlook. However, his later-year recollection was that this change occurred some ten years earlier, and he tries in his revisions to push the date back.
Some passages in the earlier version do not appear at all in the later.The 1805 original draft was resurrected by Ernest de Selincourt and first published in 1926. Wordsworth could reach the high level of abstraction needed for a true philosophical epic only sporadically. The only action in the entire poem is an action of ideas. The student is likely to find the 1850 version much more accessible for the purpose of reading the whole poem. with the end of the last book giving a little summary. when he wrote simple and graceful lyrics. in a more fluid and narrative style. The 1805 draft contains the clearest statement of Wordsworth's philosophy and is fresher and more vigorously written. and then disappointment with. others are altered almost beyond recognition. The Prelude is valuable because it does precisely what its subtitle implies: It describes the creation of a poet. Its "story" is easily summarized. Books 12-14 are mostly metaphysical and are devoted to an attempt at a philosophy of art. The toned-down work as published in 1850 represents the shift of his thought toward conservatism and orthodoxy during the intervening years. Similarly. In the last analysis. The first dates from the time of his intuitive reliance on nature. . in some of the shorter lyrics and odes. The last coincides with his later years of reaction and orthodoxy. The poem falls rather naturally into three consecutive sections: Books 1-7 offer a half-literal. and could not sustain the tone. depict his exciting adventures in France and London. Yet on the whole. critics tend to prefer the 1805 version when citing actual lines from the poem. The Prelude was so successful in its attempt that there was nothing left to deal with in The Recluse. it would be inaccurate to speak of the poem has having a plot in any standard sense. and one who was pivotal in English letters. and his adoption of Godwinian rationalism. A comparison of it with the 1850 (and final) version shows the vast change the work underwent. In fact. half-fanciful description of his boyhood and youthful environment. when he wrote dull and proper works such as The Excursion and Ecclesiastical Sonnets. The second represents his days of hope for. Book 8 is a kind of reprise. The Prelude is critically central to his life work because it contains passages representing all three styles. the Revolution. Books 9-11. during which he wrote the strong and inspiring sonnets and odes. Each of these three "sections" corresponds roughly to a phase in Wordsworth's poetic development and to a period in his life.
He recollects some of his childhood activities. Feelings of irresponsible freedom and lack of purpose quickly give way to a prevision of an impending period of optimism and creativity. His wish to create some profound work of art calls for a re-disciplining of his mind. In the delicious quiet. by his own account. The start of Book 1 finds Wordsworth speaking from a mature point of view. and a host of painstaking observations of natural phenomena. He recalls that even then he had intimations of his future greatness. The poet has. He is searching instead for "some philosophic song that cherishes our daily life. The body of the poem employs flashbacks to describe the development of the poetic mind during youth. In his indecision. He rejects historical and martial themes. Wordsworth finds he has the three necessary ingredients for creativity: a vital soul. In a . roughly from 1799 until 1850). knowledge of the underlying principles of things. If such views change radically after he has recorded them. In assessing his faculties. He mentions in passing the typical moodiness of the poet in likening him to a lover. which has recently been dulled by the artificiality of society. Wordsworth suddenly sees in his mind's eye the cottage of the landlady with whom he stayed as a schoolboy. among them river-bathing (he sported like a naked savage) and climbing and robbing of birds' nests while wandering at night. his analysis of them will be worthless. Wordsworth experiences relief in coming back to nature. He immediately identifies spiritual freedom with the absence of the encumbrances of civilization. been too long pent-up in London and only now has managed to return to the beloved Lake District where he spent his childhood and adolescence." He is next assailed by doubts about the maturity of his views. he feels that if he reviews the ideas he formed in childhood and traces their history up until early manhood. as well as mere anecdotes from his personal history. It is difficult to fix his age as the poem opens because time constantly shifts backward and forward throughout the narrative.Book 1: Introduction — Childhood and School-Time • Summary and Analysis It is a magnificent autumn day. This material is amalgamated with the poet's adult views of philosophy and art (those views held during the writing and endless revision of The Prelude. he will find whether they have had any lasting truth and permanence.
Insignificant things take on a critical meaning over and above their common and instrumental role. he imagined that a peak beyond the lake became a presence which reared up and menaced him because of his misdeed in taking the boat. though he had no prior experience of the same kind of joy. he stresses the importance of reaction on the part of the child to every action upon it by its natural environment. on the other hand. In a more literal section. He addresses what he terms the spirit of the universe. he tells of his youthful pastimes and mentions winter ice games with a group of companions and games of cards and tick-tack-toe in front of the peat fire. he tried to be outdoors at all times of the year so that nature could be unstinting in its education of him. they sense the magical urgency in everyday objects. But above all. They suggest to the practitioner of the fine arts. He maintains that certain individuals create great art because. and the idea must be communicated to him.discussion of simple education. Since beauty is eternal. the poet describes how as a youth he stole a boat and rowed one night across Ullswater Lake. in the midst of mundane events. He sees it as a great and awesome intelligence. nature develops morality in the child. At the climax of this experience. Critical Essays Analysis of The Prelude . He decries the artifacts of civilization and praises enduring things — life and nature. he may have learned to love such sights during a previous existence of his soul. and the idealistic philosopher that the universe is of vast and harmonious design. In a celebrated passage filled with much color. is insensible to this oneness of all things. He then proceeds to develop a romantic theory of aesthetics. He is particularly troubled when he remembers that certain vistas in Westmoreland — particularly the sea — brought him great pleasure. Occasionally he communicates his mood to the reader by employing natural objects as symbols of his feelings. Wordsworth sets the tone of the poem by speaking religiously of nature. the clergyman. In this way. The layman. He confides that for some time thereafter he struggled to clarify a conception of pantheism which had been teasing his brain.
as well as the diction. Unfortunately. Its comparison with the great seventeenth-century epic is in some respects a happy one since Milton was (after Coleridge) Wordsworth's greatest idol. there was an eclipse of interest in the rhymed heroic couplet."The Prelude is the greatest long poem in our language after Paradise Lost. and bathetic. with his unconventional ideas of diction. commonly legendary or historical. At times. Wordsworth will describe an intellectual experience again and again with only minor variations. Most of the imagery. Only a mere fraction of the whole poem may be said to be great. The unwavering strength and unity of purpose which underlie it also help it to soar. the narrative dries up altogether. Another drawback of the verse is its blatant repetition. The poem is written in blank verse. The epic is customarily defined as a long narrative poem which recounts heroic actions. Frequently verbose. Much of this repetition may be due to the poet's episodic efforts to show his shifting point of view in connection with certain basic ideas. unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter with certain permissible substitutions of trochees and anapests to relieve the monotony of the iambic foot and with total disregard for the stanza form. The Prelude may be classed somewhat loosely as an epic. In the middle of the eighteenth century. and manages to capture much of the wildness and beauty of that . Wordsworth. this results in a certain definite unevenness in the development of the narrative. The Prelude takes its unity from the fact that the central "hero" is its author. it does not satisfy all the traditional qualifications of that genre. The general procedure in The Prelude is to record an experience from the poet's past and then to examine its philosophical and psychological significance and relate it to nature and society at large. reflects the natural environment. brought a natural and conversational tone. particularly in the latter half of the work. The resulting form came to be called the "literary" epic as opposed to heroic and folk epics. and usually of one principal hero (from whence it derives its unity). and the reader must pick his way through a welter of disconnected disquisitions. A revival of interest in Milton led to the establishment of Miltonic blank verse as the standard medium for lengthy philosophical or didactic poetical works." says one critic. but it is this fraction that has continued to secure it a place high in English literature. diffuse. To this type. especially the English countryside. the verse is carried by those rare moments when it flashes fire or reaches a resounding note of rich poetic song.
From this harmony. either mind or matter must have the upper hand. Fortunately. he found youthful inspiration in the hills and vales of the Lake District. It is doubtful that he would have created an inimitable philosophy of nature had he been reared in London's slums. Usually. so they continued to color his emotional reactions throughout his life. in such a view. Politically. he moved in maturity to a . there are quite a few local place names which are difficult to trace. we do not witness the entire spectrum in The Prelude. mood and form tend to merge in highest harmony. The outstanding virtue of The Prelude is its imaginative interpretation of nature. his mental outlook swung from youthful radicalism to ultraconservatism. For Wordsworth. the words perfectly evoke feeling. later he felt that conservative British institutions were the bulwark of true freedom. mechanistic interpretation of nature in his youth. a great poetic power emerges. When Wordsworth puts aside his tendency to pamphleteer. In maturity. there is such mastery of the medium that the true goal of poetry is achieved: There is so perfect a communication of experience that the language as a vehicle is forgotten. The influence of the English character may be traced in many of the ideas behind the poem. but the reader is sure to find many obscure classical references. The work seems deceptively free of learned allusions. That poem is basically democratic in spirit. From the fanciful. For many readers. nature forms a cosmic order of which the material world is one manifestation and the moral world is another. Artistically and religiously. In the best instances.terrain. it was the high Anglican Church tradition to which he turned. the fierce independence of character the poet admired in the yeoman of the North Country came to be symbolized by the French patriot. But the reputation of The Prelude does not stand or fall as measured against the canon of uninterrupted beauty alone. he responded to them with his simple ballads and a joyous mysticism. it is the thematic framework behind the poem that holds the greatest lasting reward for the reader. Of course. the aesthetic problem may be solved by adopting the fragmentary approach of picking favorite passages singular for their strength or beauty. Just as Wordsworth never got far or was long from his native regions physically. for a personal faith and as a source for many of his later poetical ideas. with the very simplest of words and images. In his lifetime. The poem employs symbols in a somewhat unsophisticated way so that language and feeling tend to be indistinguishable. In addition. Only at the very end do we feel the impending onset of conservatism. Wordsworth creates the impression of terrible intensity.
On jaunts at home and abroad. in his later years. He forever examines experience. his first collection. is to be excluded from the realm of poetry. His Italian master was professedly fond of Gray.vitalist view in which mind transcended the physical world and in which a universal spirit provided the ultimate motivation for all things. and we find many echoes of Gray in the early poems. it also occasionally exhibited as a tone of moral dejection and even moods of religious disbelief. no matter how pedestrian or contemptuous it may at first seem. The former work contained crude expressions of revolutionary sympathies in isolated passages. Unfortunately. along with An Evening Walk. It was published in 1793. of course. Nothing in the world is so trivial or commonplace that it cannot be a stimulus for the mind. he tended to forsake nature as a direct source for subject matter. the Juvenilia smacked of much of the somewhat sterile poetry turned out with such abundance following 1700. and as a consequence quite a few errors appeared. The latter volume was written in the eighteenth-century manner and was dedicated to his sister Dorothy. Perhaps his favorite pursuit at Cambridge was the reading of contemporary poetry. There was considerable haste in getting both these early volumes printed. commemorates the summer walking tour through France and Switzerland in 1790. Descriptive Sketches of a Pedestrian Tour in the Alps. Indeed. . he derived inspiration for some of his lofty lyrics. as exemplified in universal. Wordsworth's Literary History Even the very earliest of Wordsworth's poetic efforts were addressed to his "dear native regions. He presents an emancipatory attitude toward life and toward art. What Wordsworth offers is not a great philosophical system. natural law. This is as close as he comes to building a philosophical system. And it is just this long and painful transition that is related in The Prelude. The impetus toward this type of poetry that would come to be uniquely Wordsworth's during the ambitious walking tours he began while in college and continued long after. much of the youthful fire that animated the earlier volume was at the same time edited out because of the change in the poet's political thinking during the intervening years. which were." They remained a lifelong source of inspiration for him even though. rectified in future editions. so much so that he learned modern languages so that he was able to read such poetry in the original. No thought.
As poetry. in fact. and extolled the superiority of popular sovereignty over monarchy. The poetry reflected the strong grip which the rationalistic philosophy of Godwin had on the poet's mind in the early 1790s. he was inspired to the conception of On Salisbury Plain. with whom Wordsworth mingled and conversed. The poet was twenty-three at the time. In 1794. The early poems had been published by one Joseph Johnson. Lastly. explored (as was his wont) the countryside on foot. The treatise was not published until 1876. and composed as he went. amid the menace of war. an intention which indicated the independence and daring of the poet. such as Thomas Paine and Godwin. Wordsworth had settled in southwest England. this effort was amalgamated with a poem called "The Female Vagrant" (the latter was to appear alone in Lyrical Ballads in 1798). in the midst of his deepest period of depression. As Guilt and Sorrow. His shop was a favorite meeting place for republicans and freethinkers. they pleased scarcely anyone but Coleridge. Amid this evenness and control are the visions of humble life couched in plain language (with a political tinge). In the vicinity of Stonehenge. The play attempted to demonstrate the impotence of common sense in the face of life's great mishaps and signifies Wordsworth's struggle to free himself from Godwin's philosophy. it was somewhat uncertain. In 1795-96. As close inspection reveals. Guilt and Sorrow marked a great and momentous change in style and featured chiefly a sophisticated attempt at narration which replaced the naive description of nature in the earlier poems. a former liberal turned conservative. There was much of the plain language that Wordsworth was to become famous for. tighter versification — not so many liberties were taken as earlier — and the Spenserian stanza appear. after which it was ranked as one of the best philosophical works to come out of England at the time of the revolutionary movement. the gloomy tragedy. clearly the rambling phrase was meant to be a departure from the snug couplet in vogue at the time. The Borderers. The Bishop of Llandaff (Wales). There was great borrowing. . but it was used awkwardly and self-consciously. he wrote his only verse play. in Wiltshire.As for the quality of this early poetry. By the autumn of 1793. In all. had recently delivered a strong anti-republican attack and a defense of the constitution. this volume was much revised and finally published in 1842. the poems definitely did not please Wordsworth's guardian. both of poetic device and of image. Wordsworth undertook a long written rebuttal which justified the Reign of Terror and seizure of Church property in France.
Between 1798 and 1807. many found their way into later editions of Lyrical Ballads. traveller. He started in earnest to write splendid little lyrics of homely wisdom and simple tragedy which. They admired Virgil and Horace for correctness of phrase and polished urbanity and grace. They did not hold with simple tutelage at the hands of nature. They wrote and criticized according to what they considered the proper and acceptable rules of taste. almost single-handedly he revivified English poetry from its threatened death from emotional starvation. For the most part. Shakespeare they found crude. Swift. His first truly characteristic piece. . native flora and fauna were treated in the poet's growing style of sober realism. reason and good sense had to intervene. both of whom constantly reassured him as to his promise as a poet. rest. Pope. indeed. these took their departure from English rural scenery. It has been remarked that he was one of the giants. it must first be asked what Wordsworth set out to do and then to what degree he succeeded. What Burns. and Cowper. Gay. The neo-classically oriented writers of the so-called Augustan Age (1701 to about 1750). would inculcate in readers a yearning to see the reform of all social injustice. emotion had to be subordinated to thought. through arousing strong compassion." marked his victory over Godwinism. Their relationship to the natural environment was one of cautious imitation.He was helped from this crisis by the staunch friendship of his sister and of Coleridge. he wrote some of his finest and most successful lyrics. Reason. his contemporaries. wanted to do and could not. conditions in "high" society furnished many of the plots and characters. Thematically. beginning "Nay. was the prime source of inspiration. From the highly stimulating association with Coleridge came the plan for the Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth's Poetic Theory — "Preface" By way of understanding and appraisal. Addison and Steele. he did. By contrast. and humble life tended to be contemptuously ignored. Blake. chose Latin authors of the time of the Pax Romana (hence the name Augustan) as their models. and to a lesser extent Richardson and Fielding.
Cowper. His Preface to the Lyrical Ballads became the symbol and the instrument of romantic revolt. trade increased. Wordsworth's reliance on unaffected speech and action and his deep conviction that simplicity of living was a philosophy harmoniously in agreement with nature wrought a revolution in poetic values. His violent and neat literary opinions and his didactic prose and verse came to symbolize the retrenchment of reactionary forces and the kind of literary creation which amounted to a kind of "apology" for the old ways. The Romantics were compelled to look about for new ways of saying things. and he was not slow to appreciate the need for a reform of "poetic" language. he was commonly a swain.From about 1750 to 1790. and Burns. Beauty was to be admired for its own sake. hastened its undoing. A change in one characteristically brought parallel changes in the . In poetry. and his political credo were all intricately connected. and the middle class asserted new power. Johnson. reason and common sense still prevailed over imagination and sentiment. though they retained many of the older poetic structures. natural things in plain language. the amount of jargon was astonishing: It was vulgar to call a man a man. through ridicule. Poetic language was devitalized. The so-called proto-romantics (transition poets). The elaborate and absurd similes and images had to be banished. Poetry became an immediate and intimate experience told by the experiencer. Before their arrival on the literary scene. like Voltaire in France. Finally. the empire grew. scornful of neoclassicism's aims and methods and. among others. For Johnson. while no romanticist. One of Wordsworth's finest achievements was that his simple childhood readied his mind to the value of the non-artificial. The full emergence of the party system and cabinet government had taken place. literature came to be dominated indirectly by Doctor Samuel Johnson. change and vitality were coming to the front. And they still subscribed to the notion that poetry had to be "fancier" than prose — an idea Wordsworth was to denounce. was. But the rules and fetters of neoclassicism still bound literature. Gray. They wrote instead about simple. a break with traditionalism had begun. balked at merely copying classical subjects and forms once more. and fresh and incisive poetic insights would have to replace the stereotyped and labored abstractions of their predecessors. the heroic couplet gave way to blank verse. Blake. his theory of poetry. and so was the thematic province of poetry: Neither any longer evoked feeling. Wordsworth's philosophy of life. New forces were at work in England.
the political philosopher and novelist. hence. Wordsworth's Poetic Theory — "Preface" The debt to Hartley is apparent throughout Lyrical Ballads. founder of the associationist school in psychology — his views were adapted afterward in the social philosophy of the Utilitarians — who at the moment absorbed Coleridge's attention. The human beings who possessed this vital knowledge would be those closest to nature — the farmers and shepherds of the countryside. "The Tables Turned" and "Expostulation and Reply" (both 1798) are both anti-intellectual in tone and mood. He had won vogue for his skill in translating the theory of the association of ideas into a psychology of learning. Wordsworth began a serious reading of Godwin and soon determined to abandon his early naive reliance on intuition and subject all his beliefs to close scrutiny. and signal the final break with Godwinism. is so artificial in tone as to be depressing. he did not know poetry from agronomy. whereupon he reissued the poems and added his notorious . banished from the homes of his relatives." The Borderers. For four years. The critics immediately pounced upon him. had expounded views which Wordsworth fancied matched his very own.others. Nature. He was an empiricist in the tradition of Locke. saying. He became a member of the so-called Godwin circle in London. Wordsworth turned back to nature and her wholesome teachings. he clung tenaciously to his Godwinian outlook until he nearly suffered a nervous breakdown. teaches the only knowledge important to humanity. Hartley put fundamental emphasis on environment in the shaping of personality. sensation was the basis of all knowledge. and this was it. from the same vintage. Hartley taught that sensations (elemental ideas) produced vibrations in the nervous system. in effect. Wordsworth had been looking for a satisfactory psychology. the poet found himself without a penny. He held (with Locke) that the mind was a "blank slate" until sensation introduced simple ideas into it. So it was to describing the visions of people like this that he turned in Lyrical Ballads. embittered by the excesses of the Revolution in France. And his poetry suffered as a result of his philosophy. Wordsworth reasoned. It chanced that David Hartley. He said of some of Guilt and Sorrow that its diction was "vicious" and the descriptions "often false. By 1798. In 1793. deplored the role of emotion in human affairs and claimed salvation lay only in reason perfected by education. William Godwin. and beset by personal fears and uncertainties.
" and submitting it to the Monthly Magazine in the hope of getting five pounds. Wordsworth would attempt to make the common uncommon — through simple but . Coleridge. in Devon.Preface. He was in the process of writing his own poems. they conceived the romantic formula which was to enliven poetry from that day to this. They proposed meeting expenses for the modest trip by writing a poem. In late 1797. where they lived. Out of the discussions between the two men about what poetry ought to be and how it should affect its audience came a growing desire on the part of the two poets to collaborate on a volume of verse. It was Coleridge who afterward urged Wordsworth on with The Prelude and persuaded him to undertake The Recluse. Wordsworth. and the two men constantly aired their views on the nature of poetry and the poetic faculty. Wordsworth early had misgivings and withdrew from authorship because he feared that he would botch the poem. Coleridge thought in terms of quick and brilliant generalizations and Wordsworth thought somewhat ploddingly and provided a valuable devotion to detail. and his sister Dorothy planned a trip from Alfoxden. Jointly. near Lynmouth. Coleridge with his vast knowledge of German transcendental philosophy in which traces of romanticism were already evident. to the Valley of Stones. "The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere. which informed the critics (though not in certain terms) that it was they who were absolutely ignorant of the real nature of poetry. They adopted a division of labor in which Coleridge would endeavor through poetic means to make the uncommon (supernatural) credible. They induced a mutual flood of creativity. and Wordsworth with his cunning awareness of the magic of the commonplace. Coleridge's contemporaries alleged it was impossible not to plan on a vast and abstract scale while under his influence. The two men complemented each other.
there had been a mere "advertisement" to orient the reader to the poems. He must communicate his ideas and emotions through a powerful re-creation of the original experience. a poem re- . He describes poetry as the spontaneous overflow of emotions. the famous "Preface" took its place. in 1800. In the anonymous 1798 edition. Poetry is not dependent upon rhetorical and literary devices. the important thing was the emotion aroused by the poem. He may broaden and enrich our human sympathies and our enjoyment of nature in this way.meticulous descriptions of everyday things. For Wordsworth. Poetry and prose. but he preferred to write instead a "simple" introduction. The second edition of Lyrical Ballads appeared in two volumes in 1800 in Wordsworth's name alone. realist. This turned out to be a somewhat long explanation of the poet's attempt to write in a manner hitherto unknown. saying that he and Wordsworth might have subscribed to it in theory but fell far short of exploiting it in actuality. The spearhead and chief mechanism for this process was going to be a revolutionary type of poetic diction for which Wordsworth was to become famous. he says. He tells how he weeded out the dead expressions from the older poetic vocabulary and substituted the flesh-and-blood language of the common person. the evocation of emotion and inculcation of transcendental awareness through the artistic examination of immediate experience. The poet is a teacher and must strive to reveal truth. and it underwent transformation at the hands of the poets as they proceeded. Coleridge became less and less convinced of its power as an artistic tool and finally disclaimed it altogether. In the last analysis. Wordsworth notes that friends had urged him to write a defense of the collection. Wordsworth himself felt that his work was a shining embodiment of the doctrine — as well as a vindication — and never completely abandoned it. For this. The decision to be guided by these tenets amounted to the fanfare announcing the romantic revolt in English literature. but is the free expression of the poet's thought and feeling. and which invests them to this very day. not the poem itself (hence his lukewarm regard for form). but through an imaginative awareness of persons and things. differ only as to presence or absence of rhyme. they do not differ as to language. The original formulation was rather crude. he must have a sensibility far beyond that of the ordinary individual. Lyrical Ballads became both the symbol and instrument of that revolution. Thus was disclosed the prescription which was to carry poetry and prose through romantic. and modern phases. not through scientific analysis and abstraction.
and not a mere associative. Yet. He agreed with Wordsworth's idea of plain poetic diction but felt his colleague had not given enough thought to selecting from the language of everyday life. Coleridge says in the Biographia Literaria 1814) that he was convinced Wordsworth's work was not the product of simple fancy. he thought the difference between poetry and prose was substantial. and it lay in the different ways they treated the same subject. . faculty. He felt that Wordsworth's conception of poetry relied too much on Hartley's theories and did not adequately explain Wordsworth's poems. but of imagination — a creative. he felt that there was much that was inadequate in the document.stimulated past emotion in the reader and promoted learning by using pleasure as a vehicle. He thought Wordsworth's poetry reached a true sublimity when he most forgot his own ideas. But the poetic doctrines elaborated in the Preface solidly underlay Lyrical Ballads and were the springboard to the expanded philosophy of art throughout The Prelude. Coleridge remarked that half the Preface was in fact the child of his own brain. Furthermore. Wordsworth's position in his later work grew closer to that of Coleridge.
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