Blog TWO

Why was Wordsworth’s Preface to the Lyrical Ballads so revolutionary?

William Wordsworth’s ‘Preface to Lyrical Ballads’ captures the integral meaning of the body of work constructed with Samuel Coleridge, whilst also simultaneously contributing to the commencement of the romantic era. This preface is regarded revolutionary as it shone a light upon unlocking a multitude of avenues for common society to access meaningful poetry. Wordsworth believed previous poets including those of the ‘The Age of Enlightenment’ incorporated diction and other devices ungraspable for some in order for them to be “carefully excluded”. This exclusion was however, further stressed as a “separation between themselves and the sympathies of men”. This preface envisioned art that encompassed “incidents and situations from common life” expressed through a language “really used by men” (men relating to mankind). This vision was a cog that turned in unison with concepts that formed around the primary laws of nature and elementary principle of pleasure. It is here that the focus on the “low and rustic life” of people broke down the barriers towards speaking a “more empathetic language” stemming from the ‘repeated experience and regular feelings’ of these said individuals.

Although Wordsworth created opportunities for the public, he also further challenged the meaning of what it meant to be a poet. Disregarding the previously held belief among many that a poet was only somebody who understood the intricacies of techniques and structure, Wordsworth simply described a poet as “a man speaking to men”. Delving into this idea, Wordsworth’s description of poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of feelings” must be retained, as we grow to understand that Wordsworth believed a poet’s role is the role of a communicator who translates ‘their feelings to those of the persons whose feelings he describes’ rather than only that of themselves.

3 thoughts on “Blog TWO

  1. I have chosen to review your blog as I was slightly confused on the importance of the “Preface of Lyrical Ballards.”

    I like the way you have clearly outlined the main arguments and reasons for the Preface, it allows the reader to fully understand the content. You have carefully explained the consequent impact the Preface had on the world of Poets and myself! I particularly the sentence;

    “This vision was a cog that turned in unison with concepts that formed around the primary laws of nature and elementary principle of pleasure”

    I believe you have thoroughly encapsulated the main ideas of the Preface and answered the Blog question as to why it was so revolutionary for its time.

    You could improve this blog by rearranging some words in the sentence as it becomes a little long and wordy to read. I have lots of trouble with this myself and I let my words ramble and loose meaning. It may help to read out-loud your blog a couple of times.

    Very enjoyable read! Well done Hamish.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Hamish,

    I thought your explanation was very well written. If I had to find something for you to work on, it is only a minor point that some lines could have been shortened to make it more concise. Otherwise, I loved it.


    Liked by 1 person

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