Wednesday 18 March 2020

Give an estimate of Wordsworth as a critic and romantic poet ,

Give an estimate of Wordsworth as a critic and romantic poet? what are his merits and demerits? What are his greatness as a critic and his achievement?

Wordsworth as a critic and romantic poet
Wordsworth as a critic and romantic poet ,

Wordsworth was primarily a poet and not a formal critic. He became a critic of contemporary poetry urges. The experiment which he had made in the Lyrical Ballads (1798) called forth a systematic defense of the theory upon which the poems were written. He was the first greeted by the reviewers with scathing criticism, and he chooses to demolish the conventionalized public taste which had hitherto been nurtured by the new classical convention which judged poetry on the basis of rules devised by Aristotle and other ancients and interpreted by the Italian and French critics. 

They cared for methods, for outward form and had nothing to say about the substance, the soul of poetry, Wordsworth is the first critic to turn from the form of poetry to its substance, he is the first critic who builds up a theory of poetry and gives an account of the nature of the creative process. His emphasis is on novelty, experiment liberty, spontaneity, inspiration, and imagination, as contrasted with the classical emphasis on authority tradition and restraint.

William Wordsworth views on Metre

His critical output is no much. It is confirmed only to the preface of 1800 and 1815, the appendix of 1802, the supplementary essay of 1815 and the three essays upon epitaphs and the correspondence besides the 1790 preface to Lyrical Ballads written jointly with Coleridge
'Though Wordsworth left only a small body of criticism, it is Rich suggestion, anticipation and personal insights. Wordsworth is an author of new a new poetics dealings with the origin of poetry, the problem of communication and it's the final effect.

His contribution to English literary criticism is manifold. He pioneered Romanticism. He gave a new theory of poetic diction based on simple language "really used by men ". He demolished the neoclassical canons of correctness accuracy authority, rule, artificial, language and instead put emphasis on spontaneity, imagination, intuition, and inspiration. Discarding formal finish and perfection, he says, "All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, he discards Aristotleon doctrine, for him the plot, or situation is not the first thing. It is the telling that matters z (Scott James) reacting against the artificiality, 18th-century poetry.  He advocates simplicity both in theme and treatment. He advocates a deliberate choice of subjects from "Humble and Rustic life ". Instead of being pre-occupied with Nymph and Goddesses. He portrays the emotion of village girls and peasants. 

There is a healthy realism in his demand that the poet should use the language of common men. He rumors poetry away from the letters of urban life of the fashionable society of his age. By advocating simplicity in theme, he enlarged the range of English poetry. He also deals a death below to the dry intellectuality of contemporary poetry and filled it with lively emotion and passions. In this way, he brought about a revolution in the theory as well as the practice of poetry.

The practice of having democratized the conception of the poet should also go to Wordsworth. According to Wordsworth, a poet is essentially a man who differs from another man not in kind only in degree. He is essentially a man who differs from another man not in kind only in degree. He is essentially a man speaking to men. He has certain gifts to a higher degree than others. He has a more lively sensibility, a more comprehensive soul, greater powers of observation, imagination and communication, he is also a man who has thought long and deep, Wordsworth emphasizes his organic oneness as also the need for him of emotional identification with other men. It will not do to sit high and alone, in his ivory tower; he must come out into the light of common day and write of common day and write of sorrows and pleasure.

Wordsworth also argued against the morality of 18th-century poetry, by saying that the function of poetry was not to instruct with delight but to please.

There are no doubt, some deficiencies, and pitfalls in his views, as Scott-James points out, flesh and blood of a rustic are not more human than the flesh and blood of townsmen and his emotions are not profound. Besides by confining himself, exclusively to rustic life, he excluded many essential elements in human experience, in this way, he narrowed down his range, his insistence on the selection of language really used by men is always in danger of becoming trivial and mean ". His theory of diction has rightly been criticized by Coleridge, Wordsworth rightly been criticized by Coleridge  , Coleridge has demonstrated simply that a selection of poetic language as advocated by Wordsworth would differ in no way from the language of any other men of common sense.

In fact, Wordsworth's claim to eminence as a critic is not due to his sustained and political critical statement but due to the suggestive and controversial nature of his critical statements. Whereas earlier critics had tried to rule with the scripture authority in their hands, Wordsworth gives liberty to the readers to trust his own emotions.

In this way, he has extended the frontier of appreciative criticism, his real position as a critic is summed up by Rene Wallek in the following words -

" Wordsworth thus holds a position in the history of criticism which must be called ambiguous or transitional. He inherited neo-classicism a theory of the limitations of nature to which he gives, however a specific social twist; he inherited from the 18th century, a view of poetry as passion and emotion which he again modified by his description of the poetic process as "recollection in tranquility" he takes up rhetorical ideas about the effect of poetry but extends and amplifies them into a theory of the social effect of love, but he also adopt, in order to meet the exigencies of his mystical experiences a theory of poetry in which imagination holds the central place as a power of unification and ultimate insight into the unity of the world.

Though Wordsworth left only a small body of criticism , it is Rich in survivals suggestions , anticipations and personal insights . 



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