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William Wordsworth is one of the representatives of the first generation of the romantic English poets, together with Blake and Coleridege.

"Lyrical Ballads", Wordsworth's main work, first appeared in 1798 and it is the result of the collaboration with Coleridge; in fact there are 19 poems by Wordsworth and 4 by Coleridge. The edition of 1800 also contains a 636f54g Preface, which is considered the English romantic manifesto: the author's aim is to choose incidents and events from common life and to make them interesting by tracing in them the primary laws of our nature and throwing over them a certain colouring of imagination. The language of the poetry is the one used by common men though purified from its disgusting expressions. Contemporary poets are separated from the sympathies of men and express themselves arbitrarily, so, compared with common men, the poets have a greater sensibility, enthusiasm, tenderness, knowledge and a more comprehensive soul.

Wordsworth's poetry is usually associated with nature, a word that can mean several things:

Nature as the countryside, often opposed to town, noise and confusion. The rural scene is silent and solitary: it is a source of great pleasure for man;

Nature as an inspiration for the poet, who tries to describe the relationship that joins man to nature. Nature is not a power external to man; we are part of it, and our best feelings are inspired by nature and in nature we can discover our moral and spiritual values;

Nature as a life force, in which God is present and not separable from it, as in the Pantheistic view.

Wordsworth was born and passed most of his life in the Lake District: the natural landscape of this region appealed strongly to his personality, and he always enjoyed close contact with the countryside. Nature gives him strong emotions which are recollected in tranquillity and take the form of a poem: this way of work is exemplified in the poem "Daffodils", that is about Wordsworth remembering the daffodils, not the moment when he saw them. In the Preface of "Lyrical Ballads" Wordsworth also says that "poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings and takes origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity".

Wordsworth gave great importance to childhood too; in his opinion children, in their simplicity and goodness, are closer than the adults to the original state of communion with nature. Childhood is such an important part of life that Wordsworth in the poem "The rainbow" says: "the Child is father of the Man".

Another important part of Wordsworth's production are the so-called "Lucy poems", five short poems composed in 1799 and published in 1800. They describe the poet's love for a country girl, a 'natural' creature. He feels a sense of separation from nature because Lucy seems completely natural while he is more sophisticated, and farther from truth. He loves Lucy but he cannot possess her, just he cannot possess nature and became one of it. The gulf separating the poet from Lucy becomes a metaphor for the gulf separating man from nature.

Wordsworth's best works are placed in the period 1797-1810, when Coleridge supported him: this is the best example of the importance of their friendship.


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