Poeti romantici e Wordsworth



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Romantic poets…. First and second generation….

1st generation: Wordsworth and Coleridge.
They shared the same ideas of poetry and imagination but the subject of their poetry was very different. Wordsworth was more didactic, instead Coleridge’s imagination moved in a fantastical or dream-like world.
They were in favour of French Revolution.
Their poems were easier to be read: the language is easy.
They wrote songs and ballads.
They used imagination.

2nd generation: Byron, Shelley and Keats.
They wrote more classical poems like odes, sonnnets and elegies. They abandoned the popular genre in favour of a more traditional one.
In their poems there is a strong presence of arcaisms.
The language is difficult, elevated and raffinate.
They moved to more profetic themes and considered themselves like profets: they wanted to bring the truth to the menkind.


He was born in 1770 in the Lake District of north-western England.
He studied in Cambridge. He went in France and became a supporter of the French revolution. Then he returned to England and wrote “the prelude”:
- a very long poem, partly in prose and partly in verse
- a sort of diary
- where he explained his refelections, thoughts and decisions.
The second part of his life was dedicated in “the Prelude” and in “the Excursion”. It’s the most important period of his life, when he was fully romantic.
In 1798 Wordsworth and Coleridge published anonymously the “Lyrical Ballads”. It was the first edition. Two years later,in the second edition, they put their names and the book was successful. Moreover they added a preface (the manifesto of the romanticism), where Wordsworth gave rules to write and established:
- what poetry was
- the poet and his role
- the subject of the poetry
- the language

= the poet looks the world around him and then recollects this world through his memory (which provokes the same emotions the poet had felt during his visions). In fact, W. lived in a place where there were only nature and so the best subject are humble(=umili), simple and rustic people who live in contact with nature [→Rousseau]. He had to speak in a simple language.

then ,in 1802, a third edition was published.
…..in 1817 Coleridge describes in his “Biografia Literaria” the origin of their book.
He said that they had discussed a lot to decide what could have been the best means to catch the attention of the reader: a faithful adherence to the truth of nature or a modification?
In the end of this book, C. explained what they had decided: they divided their roles and C. wrote about the supernatural. Instead W. wrote about the reality.

According to the panteism, W. tended to see God in nature, which has a sort of spirituality. This is due to the fact that, when he was a child, he used to spend most of his time in contact with nature. He loved it istintively, he has a very sensible approach. When he grew up, he went to Cambridge to study at university. There, he realised that he missed nature. This missing is due to the fact that nature meant beauty… ≠ town: ugly, dirty.
Then he became a man and thought that nature has a sort of divine in it (panteism). 3rd step→the spirituality of nature which is manifested through nature himself.