William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge spearheaded a philosophical writing movement in England in the late 18 th and early 19 th century. Although Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge are often considered the fathers of the English Romantic movement, their collective theologies and philosophies were often criticized but rarely taken serious by the pair of writers due to their illustrious prestige as poets. The combined effort in the Lyrical Ballads catapulted their names into the mainstream of writers in 1798 and with this work; they solidified their place in English literature. Although, most people fail to note that the majority of Coleridge’s and Wordsworth’s work was him simply bending and breaking particular rules of poetry that were in place during his time and in order to fully understand his work, one must fully understand his views of poetry itself.
Wordsworth was often arrogant in response to negative criticism, in this case, there was his response to Sara Hutchinson’s comments on his work, “the Leechgatherer”: ‘I am exceedingly sorry that the latter part of the Leechgatherer has displeased you, the more so because I cannot take to myself (that being the case) much pleasure or satisfaction in having pleased you in the former part’ (Hanley).
This particular scolding by Wordsworth clearly shows how important it was to him that the criticism only came from someone whom he greatly respected. Her letter to Wordsworth has since been lost but in my estimation, Hutchinson’s comments could not have been all that degrading, just merely perpendicular to what Wordsworth thought of his own work. There were two particular events that helped to give William a newfound sense of direction in his work and career. In January of 1795, a close friend of William died and in his will, he granted Wordsworth a legacy of 900 pounds; this money helped him to devote more time to his poetry.
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That same August, he met S. T. Coleridge and they quickly became close friends. In July of 1797, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved to Alfoxden House, which was only a few miles from Coleridge’s home in Nether Stowe.
Speaking of Coleridge, himself and Dorothy, Wordsworth said, ‘we were three persons with one soul’ (Hanley).
Each day, Wordsworth and Coleridge would work on their poetry, discuss their ideas on poetry, and comment on each other’s poems. This process led to Wordsworth first celebrated work, Lyrical Ballads. Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth was the piece of work that established him as an accomplished poet.
The work was considered a collaboration between Wordsworth and Coleridge but was originally published anonymously. A lot had been made of their friendship where each would comment on each other’s poetry but it must also be noted that Coleridge was in dire need of money. He had hoped to travel to Germany to study and when the book was published, and it helped to pay for his trip. In the Advertisement of Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth says the following about the content of his work: The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments. They were written chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purposes of poetic pleasure.
Readers accustomed to the gaudiness and inane phraseology of many modern writers, if they persist in reading this book to its conclusion, will perhaps frequently have to struggle with feelings of strangeness and awkwardness: they will look round for poetry, and will be induced to enquire by what species of courtesy these attempts can be permitted to assume that title. It is desirable that such readers, for their own sakes, should not suffer the solitary word Poetry, a word of very disputed meaning, to stand in the way of their gratification; but that, while they are perusing this book, they should ask themselves if it contains a natural delineation of human passions, human characters, and human incidents; and if the answer be favorable to the author’s wishes, that they should consent to be pleased in spite of that most dreadful enemy to our pleasures, our own pre-established codes of decision. (Wordsworth 2).
... its relation to memory in Coleridge's Kubla Khan and Wordsworth's The Prelude. Wordsworth and Coleridge are two poets that deserve recognition for their ... 35, Wordsworth would write his best works that include Poems in Two Volumes and The Excursion. He would continue to write poetry into ...
Even though this is a longer passage, I feel that it is very prudent to know in reference to his work. Most poets wrote in confusing phrases that were merely meant to be on the bookshelves of the rich. This idea is intriguing since it puts itself above the upper class directed poetry by aiming its language and ideas to the “common” people.
Andrew Bennett, in his article “Wordsworth Writing”, discussed that Wordsworth was actually a poet who did not actually write poetry. This reasoning he bases upon the idea that Wordsworth considered words to be immaterial. The language and the context of them, he felt, is what carried the true meaning. This paradox, as Bennett calls it, is notable in that “Wordsworth’s poetry and his poetics are that both appear to involve a model of composition that is directed towards the exclusion of the act of writing, towards short-circuiting the question raised by the poet’s name and eliding the process of writing itself” (Bennett).
I feel that in this circumstance, Bennett becomes too engrossed as to how poetry can be defined since defining something as broad as poetry becomes relative. Wordsworth was obviously a poet but he also felt that his work was beyond the scope of most of his contemporaries. Also, Wordsworth and Coleridge did not intend to overwhelm the readers of their work so that they agreed with their opinions or particular political views. In steady, they presented themselves as merely a gatherer of thoughts and concepts whose power lay in the fact that it was written with “rural” language, so that the freedom and independence of which reflected that of the landscape in which it lived. In contrast, S. T.
Coleridge was often the one who made it his own responsibility to respond to the ideas and opinions of other contemporary writers of his time, for example, one of his favorite targets was often Edmund Burke. Coleridge wrestled with this problem in ‘Religious Musings’ (1796), his anti-establishment anti-Burke poem that borrowed from Wakefield’s The Spirit of Christianity Compared with the Spirit of the Times (1794).
... published. Although the work incorporates some of Samuel Taylor Coleridge?s poetry, the majority of the pomes belong to Wordsworth. With the publication ... 57). The speaker of the poem is at odds with nature, yet Wordsworth consciously constructed the poem in this fashion to make the ... My final, and best example of nature as a theme in Wordsworth?s work comes from the poem ?Tintern Abbey.? It opens with ...
Coleridge attacked Burke in the poem, alluding to him for his role in stirring up the people against Joseph Priestley, the Unitarian radical forced into exile by the mob: Lo! Priestley there, Patriot, and Saint, and Sage, … Him from his native land Statesmen blood-stain’d and Priests idolatrous By dark lies mad ” nine the blind multitude Drove with vain hate: calm, pitying he retire’d, And mus’d expectant on these prom is’d years (Fulford).
This passage by Coleridge puts blame on Burke and he attempts to overbearingly out write Burke in Milton-like rhetoric. He attempts to go over the top by claiming the imminent coming of the apocalypse by personifying destruction. This personification showed that Coleridge, like other radicals in his time, related particular stories from the Bible to their current politics. What one might not realize though is that this shows Coleridge’s desperation since he does not believe that the appropriate steps can be made to begin the revolution. The only way the steps can be made is through divine intervention, or an apocalypse, because he could no longer foresee how radicals alone could lift the weight of Burke’s opinions on revolution. Coleridge was to devote his best poetry, in the late 1790 s, to exploring to convince readers of Burke to latch themselves onto his beliefs and opinions.
In Wordsworth’s writing, his theme is usually the memory of pure unity with nature in childhood works with the mind even through adulthood. But when access to that unity is lost, and the maturity of one’s mind becomes that of an adult, there must be a more adapted ability to interpret nature and therefore an ability to see nature in a way that relates to one’s own life. This particular theme is crafted beautifully in “Tinter n Abbey.” In this poem, he discusses the topic in memory and the ways in which we interpret our memories. The speaker references particular objects in its scene and occasionally talks to others such as the spirit of nature and the speaker’s sister.
... soul, life and a being of her own in Wordsworth’s poems. Nature is not merely used as a scenic and picturesque ... background but it has a separate existence of her own. William Wordsworth ... ;Daffodils”. It is evident that Nature plays an integral role in Wordsworth’s poems. Through his poetry, he aims to teach us ...
The language of the poem is notable for its simplicity since at this time, this was a rare occurrence in poetry. In this poem, Wordsworth is concerned with direct yet mild tone. The poem’s various images are largely confined to nature and the surroundings in which the speaker moves. This style of poem idealizes Wordsworth’s view of poetry.
The idea of his poetry is progressive in that it wants to develop and change the way in which those in his time period think of poetry. But the vehicle, in which he does this, usually involves a speaker that thinks about his or her past and they reflect upon those times. In Coleridge’s poem, ‘Frost at Midnight’, the speaker is considered to be Coleridge himself, and the poem is a quiet, very personal restatement of similar themes of Wordsworth’s work: the way one interprets nature and how they allow it relate to their lives, also the relationship between adulthood and childhood as they are linked in adult memory. Nonetheless, while the poem conforms to many of the typical philosophy of Romanticism, it also shows a key difference between Coleridge and Wordsworth. Wordsworth saw his own childhood as a time when his association with the natural world was at its greatest. He reflected upon his memories of childhood in order to pacify his thoughts and invigorate his imagination.
Coleridge was raised in London and often confronted Wordsworth’s identification of his childhood. In this poem, we see how the fear of estrangement has strengthened Coleridge’s wish that his child enjoy an idyllic Wordsworthian upbringing ‘by lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags / Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds… .’ Rather than seeing the link between childhood and nature as an inevitability, Coleridge seems to distinguish it as a delicate and amazing association, one of which he himself was deprived.’ Frost at Midnight’ depends on a personal expression where the reader follows the natural sequence of the speaker. The passive observations give the reader a quick impression of the scene, from the ‘silent ministry’ of the frost to the cry of the owl. Coleridge uses language that indicates the closeness of the scene to bring in the reader. His recollections of feeling trapped in the schoolhouse bring him back into his immediate environment with a even more love for his son.
... Day after day, Wordsworth and Coleridge would write poetry, discuss their theories on poetry, and comment on each other's poems. Attempts at ... more years before Wordsworth did any substantial work on The Recluse. Within the lifetime of Wordsworth and Coleridge a new generation ... in 1690, the publication of Locke's two principle works: Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Two Treatises of Government ...
One of his final thoughts on his son’s future becomes tied in with his Romantic interpretation of nature and its role in the child’s imagination. His reflection of the objects of nature brings him back to the frost and the icicles; this re visitation of winter’s frosty forms brings the poem full circle. The critiques of Wordsworth and Coleridge’s works by Andrew Bennett are weak and un enthused. He seems more inclined to write about the theory behind the work rather than the piece itself. For example, Bennett seems overly fascinated with the fact that Wordsworth once said he did feel words had much value. He elaborates on this small quote by Wordsworth but fails to really delve into an opposition to this claim by Wordsworth.
At one point Bennett says, Wordsworth’s reputation as a nature poet and as a poet of spontaneity and speech is, then, bound up with representations (his own and others’) of his manner of composition. And as these comments suggest, poetic or compositional spontaneity — what Perkins refers to as that ‘desperate but necessary hope’ — is, to a considerable extent, dependent on Wordsworth’s pedestrianism. But how do we know that Wordsworth composed as he walked? Where does this story come from? Although this sense of Wordsworthian composition is often accepted without further comment, the evidence is far from straightforward. There are, for example, a limited number of references to Wordsworth walking and writing in Dorothy’s letters and journals (Bennett).
In my opinion, the mere fact that Bennett thinks it is pertinent that Wordsworth might have walked around as he wrote alludes to Bennett’s overall ineptitude to say anything of substance for the better majority of his critique.
I view this particular topic along the lines of whether or not a writer uses a PC or a Mac computer to type their works. Tim Fulford had a much more in depth analysis of Wordsworth and Coleridge’s works. He not only explained his position but he also discussed, in detail, the way in which their work was accepted when published. The stigmatization of the poor, the argument that nothing should be done to relieve them, was topical…
... effectuated an extreme feat in poetry in a mere fifty years. Samuel Coleridge’s “The Rime of the ... past away a glory from the earth” (Wordsworth 18). Wordsworth identifies the poignancy in life’s realization when ... of time, as the prefatory four stanzas were written at least two years prior to the latter ... many writers to shift the context of their work from the Romantic natural forms to education, women ...
Justifying his poetry in the Preface, Wordsworth found himself defending rural laborers in a new context in which it was thought natural, inevitable and even proper that they should suffer… Rather than appearing as an isolated combatant in a battle to lift the public from its supine thralldom to Burke’s powerful defense of established laws, the writer emerges in the Preface as already empowered by an existing public language — that of the rural poor. If the writer has power, it is not to enthrall readers to himself or to established institutions, but to a community of speech ignored by Burke, that of rural laborers whom Burke had casually dismissed as a ‘swinish multitude… And this community, Wordsworth claimed, was more moral and more independent than the enfranchised and educated classes, who themselves were said to be victims of a population explosion (Fulford).
This critique not only details the content of the work but the context in which the Lyrical Ballads were introduced to the rest of the world. Fulford seems enthused about delving into the broad subject of Wordsworth’s poetry while Bennett seemed to be simply re-stating his one point in as many ways as he could. Wordsworth and Coleridge undoubtedly had a profound effect on poetry during their celebrated writing careers. They took a new direction to poetry, which in short, brought it to the mainstream. In this regard, they opened the door to poetry for many people who had never been exposed to it. The Romantic “Revolution” sparked numerous writings and forever changed the way poetry was written.
In essence, what Wordsworth and Coleridge did was make poetry more about himself or herself rather than the epic style of Dante or Homer. They wrote about what they knew best, their own personal experiences. Works Cited Bennett, Andrew. “Wordsworth Writing. (Critical Essay).” Wordsworth Circle, Winter 2003 v 34 i 1 p 3 (6).
April 15, 2004 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads. November 4, 1995. University of Oregon. April 17, 2004 Fulford, Tim. “Apocalyptic economics and prophetic politics: radical and romantic responses to Malthus and Burke.” Studies of Romanticism, Fall 2001 v 40 i 3 p 345 (25).
April 15, 2004 Hanley, Keith. “‘Things of which I need not speak’: between the domestic and the public in Wordsworth’s poetry.” Wordsworth Circle, Winter 2003 v 34 i 1 p 39 (5).
April 16, 2004.