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Wordsworth Vs. Coleridge

7 Pages 1716 Words

The Para and the Normal
Romanticism was characterized by reliance on the imagination and subjectivity of approach, freedom of thought and expression, and an idealization of nature: “an abundant imagery coinciding with an equally abundant quantity of natural objects, the theme of imagination linked closely to the theme of nature, such is the fundamental ambiguity that characterizes the poetics of romanticism” (de Man 66). Thus, as romantic literature everywhere developed, imagination was praised over reason, emotions over logic, and intuition over science—making way for a vast body of literature of great sensibility and passion. This literature emphasized a new flexibility of form adapted to varying content, encouraged the development of complex and fast-moving plots, and allowed mixed genres (tragicomedy and the mingling of the grotesque and the sublime) and freer style. The preface to Lyrical Ballads (1802), by English poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge was of prime importance as a manifesto of literary romanticism. In Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria he recalls conversations with Wordsworth regarding “the two cardinal points of poetry: the power of exciting the sympathy of the reader by a faithful adherence to the truth of nature, and the power of giving the interest of novelty by the modifying colours of imagination” (526). Both Coleridge’s and Wordsworth’s contributions to Lyrical Ballads affirm the importance of these cardinal points of poetry of nature and imagination to poetic creation; Coleridge does this using the supernatural, while Wordsworth uses subjects from ordinary life.
In the preface to Lyrical Ballads Wordsworth explains that he proposes to “chose incidents and situations from common life” use “language really used by men” and to present ordinary things to the mind in an unusual way (357). Wordsworth did this emphasizing the validity of his own personal experience,...

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