How Do the Content and Style of Two of the Wordsworth Poems Set for Study Match His Beliefs About Good Poetry?

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William Wordsworth reacted to the natural world around him with a sense of awe and contentment. He believed that imagination, overflow of emotion and memory were the key elements behind inspiring poetry. In his poetry, his central themes are the potency of memory, humanity’s reliance on nature, emotional expression and the personal world of imagination. His two poems ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ and ‘The Solitary Reaper’ match and reflect this and his beliefs about good poetry, as expressed in his famous preface to ‘Lyrical Ballads’. Through Wordsworth’s use of stylistic and poetic techniques, such as personification and sibilance, he has emotively recounted his personal experiences to the reader, linking the importance of nature to humanity.

Wordsworth describes poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” and he focuses on the personal quality of the experience to inform the reader of his reaction to the environment surrounding him and the emotions created when he comes in contact with the beauty of nature. The value of personal experience and emotions encountered is emphasised in ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ through various techniques. His use of first person in both poems '' “Ten thousand saw I at a glance” (I Wandered) and “I listen’d, motionless and still; and, when I mounted up the hill” (Solitary Reaper) highlights the significance of personal experience and creating particular feelings of empathy and admiration. He chooses to use high modality language such as ‘pleasure’, ‘bliss’ and ‘golden’ which enriches his poetry and creates intrigue for the reader leading to his recollection of emotions evident in the last stanza of ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’. Likewise, Wordsworth’s ‘The Solitary Reaper’ reflects the importance of rekindling of emotions after an experience. His beliefs of good poetry was centred around the recollection of experience and overflow of emotion evident in ‘The Solitary Reaper’ through an uplifting sense of...
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