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Wordsworth

Uploaded by mARISTOTLE on Apr 12, 2002

William Wordsworth’s description of his poetry in “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” gives the impression that it feel much like a modern newspaper to a reader; basic and with wide appeal. He emphasizes the idea of simplicity and familiarity of both topic and language, arguing the superiority of a poem that appeals to the common person. However, despite the value placed on simplicity, his poems are far above what many readers would perceive to be elementary. This is demonstrated by the fact that his poems are still a valuable piece of literature for study. The reason for this is that although he does put a large amount of weight on using common language, Wordsworth also counterbalances his style of poetry by striving “to throw over [poems] a certain colouring of imagination, whereby ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual way”(241). An excellent example of this balance is in his poem “Nutting”, published in the second version of “Lyrical Ballads”. It balances creativity with the ordinary which, when combined with common setting and speech, elevates Wordsworth’s work above many of his contemporaries, and increases its appeal to commoners and scholars alike.

Wordsworth’s devotion to the ordinary things in life can be fully seen in his poem “Nutting”. The poem tells the story of Wordsworth as a youth, going into the forest in search of hazel nuts, an activity that would have been very familiar to anyone reading the poem at the time. The diction of the poem is a very customary language, as Wordsworth settles comfortably into his self-imposed formula. However, while this style may be attractive to many, it is his ability to weave common speech into imaginative patterns that truly makes the poem exceptional. Wordsworth’s talent in expression is notable in “Nutting” as he describes himself beneath a perfectly undisturbed hazel nut tree. He takes simple words, and a conventional setting, then spins them into innovative phrases. When describing himself finding the tree he writes, “—a little while I stood,/ Breathing with such suppression of the heart/As joy delights in; and, with wise restraint/ Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed the banquet”(21-25). While the language is common, and the scene familiar, the creative way in which Wordsworth puts the sentence together stimulates the mind without confusing it. It provokes the reader to imagine Wordsworth’s feelings, almost sharing with him the emotions everyone feels when pleasantly surprised by...

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Uploaded by:   mARISTOTLE

Date:   04/12/2002

Category:   Poetry

Length:   4 pages (959 words)

Views:   1225

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