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William Wordsworth – Lyrical Ballads and Preface


William Wordsworth was a Romantic poet who was born in 1770.
During his youth he travelled to France so he assisted to the French revolution in 1789 and he showed his enthusiasm for its ideals. But when he came back in England he abandoned these ideals and began to read the works of Godwin who claimed the equality of all men and the superiority of reason.
An important meeting for the author was in 1797, when he met Coleridge who became his friend and collaborator.
They wrote the Lyrical Ballads, a collection of poems that contains 4 poem by Coleridge and 19 by Wordsworth.
The first poem of Lyrical Ballads is “The Preface”, that is considered the Romantic Manifesto, in fact, this work expresses the new poetic and stylistic theory.
William Wordsworth explains that he wants to talk about events and situation of common life but at the same time he “colours” these ordinary facts using his imagination.
In the Preface three important questions appear:
1) What is the poet?
2) To whom does he
adresses himself?
3) What language is to be expected from him?
According to Wordsworth’s opinion, the poet is “a man speaking to men”, a man who had a deeper understanding of nature, feelings, human life, and a more comprensive soul. All the poet’s feelings couldn’t be written immediately but in tranquillity so that the poet has the possibility to think about his experiences and relive it.

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