William Wordsworth's Preface to The Lyrical Ballads: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

William Wordsworth's Preface to The Lyrical Ballads

1st Edition

By Alex Latter, Rachel Teubner

Macat Library

92 pages

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Central to the creative process of the Romantic poets that followed him, Wordsworth’s Preface to the Lyrical Ballads has been both a gift and a thorn in the side of critics for over a century. Readers find themselves drawn back to the essay repeatedly as they seek to untangle the ideas and contradictions within it. The Preface is a statement of Wordsworth’s poetic vision and offers an explanation of the poetic process behind the poems, which fused the rusticity of the ballad form with the psychological introspection of modernity.

But to the generation of Romantic writers that emerged in its wake, the Preface announced a new understanding of the creative process and of the high purposes of poetry: to reveal the human condition, and to awaken in its readers the profoundest emotions and the most enduring truths of existence.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the Text

Who was William Wordsworth?

What does Preface to the Lyrical Ballads Say?

Why does Preface to the Lyrical Ballads Matter?

Section 1: Influences

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context

Module 2: Academic Context

Module 3: The Problem

Module 4: The Author's Contribution

Section 2: Ideas

Module 5: Main Ideas

Module 6: Secondary Ideas

Module 7: Achievement

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work

Section 3: Impact

Module 9: The First Responses

Module 10: The Evolving Debate

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today

Module 12: Where Next?

Glossary of Terms

People Mentioned in the Text

Works Cited

About the Authors

Dr. Alex Latter completed his PhD at the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre at Birkbeck, University of London, where his thesis looked at postwar British poetry. He is the author of Late Modernism and The English Intelligencer: On the Poetics of Community (2015).

Rachel Teubner is a PhD candidate at the University of Virginia. She teaches courses in Christian thought and in religion and literature, and is the author of A Macat Analysis of T.S. Eliot’s The Sacred Wood (Routledge, 2014).

About the Series

The Macat Library

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With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

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