Lyrical Ballads

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Penguin Books Limited, Aug 31, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 128 pages
51 Reviews
A collection of poems exemplifying Romantic aesthetic ideals, whose unique beauty lies in their revolutionary exploration of the 'overflow of powerful emotions recollected in tranquility', Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads is edited with a note on the text by Michael Schmidt in Penguin Classics. Published in 1798, Lyrical Ballads is a dazzling collaboration containing twenty-three poems by close friends, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge - two major figures of English Romanticism. The volume heralded a new approach to poetry and expresses the poets' reflections on mankind's relationship with the forces of the world. Coleridge's contribution includes the nightmarish vision of 'The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere', one of the works for which he became best known, as well as the fantastical conversational poem 'The Foster-Mother's Tale' and the melancholic 'The Nightingale'. Wordsworth's 'We are Seven' depicts a child's na´ve optimism in the face of the cruel mortality, while 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill' and 'Simon Lee' celebrate the simplicity and strength he perceived in country people, and 'Tintern Abbey' explores the healing powers of nature. This Penguin Classics edition allows readers to recapture the full impact and power of Lyrical Ballads. It also includes a note on the history of the text by Michael Schmidt. Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) has been criticized as a political turn-coat, drug addict and plagiarist whose wrecked career left only a handful of magical early poems. But the shaping influence of his highly imaginative criticism is now generally accepted, and his position, along with that of William Wordsworth (1770-1850), as one of the two great progenitors of the English Romantic spirit is assured. A great innovator, Wordsworth permanently enlarged the range of English poetry both in subject matter and treatment. If you enjoyed the Lyrical Ballads, you might like Wordsworth's Selected Poems, also available in Penguin Classics.

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Review: Lyrical Ballads

User Review  - Dylan - Goodreads

Essential for all lovers of language, beauty, grace and soul. In their time, Wordsworth and Coleridge were more than daringly bold or strange - this was revolutionary. Taking poetry back to the more ... Read full review

Review: Lyrical Ballads

User Review  - Holly - Goodreads

I actually really enjoyed this poems more than I thought I would. Especially Tintern Abbey (a beautiful poem). Romanticism isn't really my favourite area of poetry, but this definitely makes me want to explore more of Wordsworth's work! Read full review

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About the author (2006)

William Wordsworth was born in the Lake District in April 1770, and died there eighty years later on 23 April 1850. He had three brothers and a sister, Dorothy, to whom throughout his life he was especially close. When she was six, and he was nearly eight, their mother died. Dorothy was sent away to be brought up by relatives, and a year later William was sent to Hawkshead Grammar School, scene of the great childhood episodes of The Prelude.

Wordsworth was cared for in lodgings and led a life of exceptional freedom, roving over the fells that surround the village. The death of his father, agent to the immensely powerful landowner Sir James Lowther, broke in on this happiness when he was thirteen, but did not halt the education through nature that complemented his Hawkshead studies and became the theme of his poetry.

At Cambridge, Wordsworth travelled (experiencing the French Revolution at first hand) and wrote poetry. His twenties were spent as a wanderer, in France, Wales, London, the Lakes, Dorset and Germany. In France he fathered a child whom he did not meet till she was nine because of the War. In 1795 he was reunited with Dorothy, and met Coleridge, with whom he published Lyrical Ballads in 1898, and to whom he addressed The Prelude, his epic study of human consciousness.

In the last days of the century Wordsworth and Dorothy found a settled home a

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