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First period of the Romanticism: Wordsworth and Coleridge


How to unnderstand arts – Why Language – Humble Life – Nature – Popet

Lyrical ballads: 1798 one edition with the preface by Wordsworth, it was a collection of poems, and a manifesto of British romanticism.
It is important to remember that the preface is the longest one, by Coleridge “the rhymes of an ancient mariner”.
Title - lyrical : they had to do with felling, emotions, expression of subjectivity , ballads : to dress that is the kind of poetry completely new
I by Wordsworth
II by Coleridge: Biographia Literaria : he tells about his life-biography
Coleridge was also a great literary critique, not very technical but ones who loves talking about poems.

The idea that poetry has to come closer to the reader in order to communicate feelings, to show additional things in a new way and to foreground the past with imagination.

They decided to write poems of two source:
1) One was meant to be, at least in part, supernatural: this is the one to whom Coleridge devotes his attention
2) The other part subjects’ were chosen from ordinary life and this is quite strange, incidence of people from ordinary life
Wordsworth and Coleridge were two different things, characters were supernatural, and the important quote is the idea that in order to appreciate this kind of poetry your have to go through a willing suspension of disbelief. The appreciation of arts it's a collaborative task and it cannot work unless you actually want to believe: you have to willingly suspend your disbelief, this quote is commonly used. If you do not accept fiction everything would be strange, in order to fully appreciate a work of art you have to accept it as it is. Appreciating art involves the viewer as well as the artist: it's new the conception that there's a sort of collaboration between those you created art and the readers.

Wordsworth talks about ordinary people but he shows them by a different point of view, is related with something more peaceful, quieter and I would think of Constable or Gainsborough, but also something where the natural world of the countryside is becoming real, there's a stress on the beauty of the landscape.

LANGUAGE used by man : a poetic convention, the language of course isn't really the language a farmer would use but the register is begin lowered and there's a litter use of Latin and Greek expression and often using metrical forms that are traditional, like the one of the ballads, because of course they were traditional life style, much more musical. The stress on the beauty of the rural England. The countryside is virtuoso, positive also from a moral and ethical points of view, a city is usually a place of corruption : it's also a revolt against industrial revolution.

The language is meant to react against heroic couplet, but it's always purified by the poet.

HUMBLE PEOPLE and life where the subjects because in them you can find the essential passion of the human part, rusty country people who hadn't got any education, who are not worried by politics, (like children) are closer to what a man essentially is.
They say that country people can better express feelings and emotions but it's the upper class point of view. It's an interest a part of society that had never been given importance before, same happens with children (they are not considered to be imperfect but to posses a knowledge on their own that adults have lost).
This reminds of a important philosopher : Jean Jacques Rousseau, he's the one who gives born to the idea of innocence as a positive element that is later on corrupted by life in society.

In Wordsworth NATURE posses truth that man has forgotten and it’s always positive (is Nature is connected with city life)
In Coleridge in “Rhyme of an ancient mariner” Nature is something absolutely powerful greater that man, it possesses symbolic meaning and it can also exploit you, it can also ask for revenge.

The importance of the criticism on Nature is connected with society: it's society that corrupts man, it is society that is noisy, it's of course connected with the industrial revolution.

Poetry is a spontaneous, powerful and the POET is a teacher : a man speaking to man who possess a greater sensibility and a man who has studied and thought more and more deeply than others.
Coleridge had not got a clear definition of a poet but certainly he tells reality that other people wouldn't know, the poet has a curse.
For Wordsworth poetry is emotion recollected in tranquillity this kind of poetry has to do with emotions and feelings and it expresses the subjective consciousness of the poem but it's not impressionistic.

Shelly thinks that the poet is a legislator of a new mankind, hierophant.
Keats: The artist has to show you beauty , transform reality into something permanent in order to overwhelm time.

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