William Wordsworth's lyric ballads is generally regarded as the first work of English romantic poetry, and the 1800 edition of the lyric ballads is generally regarded as the preface of English romantic literature. In fact, as a transitional poet, Wordsworth inherited the neoclassical poetry and sentimental poetry popular in the 18th century, which reflected the continuity law of the development of literary history.
Wordsworth and Coleridge's lyrical ballad, published in 1798, is generally regarded as a revolutionary event in English literature, because it marked the emergence of a new literary idea quite different from neoclassicism. Wordsworth's introduction to the second edition of lyric ballads in 1800 is regarded as the manifesto of English romantic literature. But British critic Marilyn butler disagreed: "we must abandon the widely held belief that Wordsworth's 1798 lyric ballads represented a new kind of poetry." Marilyn butler pointed out a fact that is often overlooked: Wordsworth's poetry partly inherited the tradition of English poetry in the 18th century, while most researchers tend to only notice the innovativeness of hua's poetry. In the first half of the 18th century, neoclassical poetry prevailed in English poetry circle. In the second half, sentimental poetry gained momentum. As a transitional poet, Wordsworth inherited these two kinds of poems to some extent.
Wordsworth's inheritance of neoclassical poetry is firstly embodied in the inheritance of "reason" advocated by neoclassicism. Rainer wellek said in the history of modern literary criticism that "Wordsworth could not be counted as an advocate of naked emotionalism". Although Fahrenheit maintains that "all good poetry is the spontaneous expression of strong emotions," his "theory of emotions" is conditional, rather than unreflectively cathartic. "All good poetry," he said, "is the natural outpouring of strong emotions, and while this is true, any poem of value, no matter how varied its subject matter, is due to the writer's extraordinary sense of feeling, and to the fact that he has thought long and hard." Wordsworth affirmed that poetry is the product of the poet's deep thinking and emphasized the participation of consciousness. He did not completely abandon the rational features of neoclassicism, but tried to combine emotion and reason. Here, as an example, Wordsworth first visited the temple of dingden, the final volume of the lyric ballads, in 1793, when he had just returned from France, suffering from the pain of separation from his lover, and full of hatred for the tyranny of the jacobins. But instead of pouring out his intense feelings at the time, he revisited the temple in 1798 and re-examined his emotional journey five years earlier in "quiet memory". The poem begins with a definite distance: "five years have passed; Five summers plus/five long winters!"
Over the course of five long years, the poet has recovered from the emotional anguish of the time and is no longer in a state of mind that was divided at the time. He had been able to meditate calmly on his own feelings, and to express his feelings with a little more rational control.
In the theme, also need rational thinking. "Every poem in this collection has a worthy purpose." This is not to say that he began his poems with a clear purpose, but that the habit of "meditation" adjusts the emotions, and that when he describes something that strongly arouses his feelings, the work itself has a purpose. "The purpose of poetry is to be in the truth, which is not limited to the individual and the local, but universal and valid." Although the content of Wordsworth's poems is very rich, the theme can be summarized as the appeal of love and kindness, the praise of traditional virtues, the yearning for harmony between man and nature, and the condemnation of the evil brought by modern civilization. His poems are very didactic. Wordsworth's emphasis on the value of poetry directly inherited the moral reason of neoclassical poetry. British neoclassical literature in the 18th century is a reflection of the enlightenment in the field of literature, which attaches great importance to the role of moral education. Pope, a famous British neoclassical poet, satirized the vulgar, false and degenerate social atmosphere of the upper society in his book "the capture of a head". He is also the author of a treatise on morality, which deals with social and individual morality. "In his new heyday," says Marilyn butler, "Wordsworth retained the qualities of neoclassicism: unsophisticated, solemn, humane and public-spirited." "He was like the true son of the enlightenment, who transumed the intellectual, moral and social USES of reason from the subjective and emotional side of the mind, from the demands of self-expression."
Wordsworth believed in the natural expression of emotion, but he never left the control of reason. It was only in the late 19th century that the "emotionalism" of romantic poetry began to spread, leading to empty, empty poetry. In the transitional period from neoclassicism to romanticism, although Fahrenheit made great innovations to neoclassicism, he inevitably retained some advantages of neoclassicism and did not develop to the extent of sentience. His poems are often a blend of feeling and reason.
Wordsworth's inheritance of neoclassical poetry is also reflected in the language of poetry. In the preface to the second edition of lyric ballads in 1800, Wordsworth explicitly put forward the "poetic words" and "abstract words" against neoclassical poetry, and advocated "poetry in the language that people really use". Wordsworth advocated the emotional and natural nature of language, which was opposite to the "artistic" and "artificial" language of neoclassicism. Under his innovation, many everyday spoken words, such as thing, thing and something, were written into poetry, and many poems were cordial "person-to-person conversation".
But did Wordsworth completely abandon the neoclassical rules of language? Is the language of his poetry entirely naturalistic and primordial? In fact, he had a choice about "the language that people actually use." "This choice, wherever it may be made out of genuine interest and feeling, has in itself formed a characteristic which is far from being thought of at first, and which sets it apart from the vulgarity and meanness of everyday life." He admires writing in the form of ballads, lines, and ballads, but he does not appreciate the indiscriminate use of vernacular English. "He never rejected the scholarly Latin tradition... It may have something to do with his classical culture and his admiration for Rome." He held himself up to life as a model of life and poetry, first Milton, second spencer. Both of them are erudite and bookish poets in the history of English literature. "Wordsworth, in his conception of nature, incorporates the artistic elements of spencer, Milton, Chaucer and Shakespeare without transforming them into something primordial." Though he admired the peasant poet burns, it was only in his poems that we could smell the real straw. For his part, the cambridge-educated poet's language "ultimately refers to the language of Milton and Shakespeare, the passionate language of the great poet." It can be seen that Wordsworth inherited the neoclassical poetry's emphasis on norms and Latin tradition.
Marilyn butler said, "Wordsworth's experiment with the proper treatment of subjects taken from the lower strata of society with the cadence taken from popular poetry is the product of thirty years of public interest in its content and form, peculiar to enlightenment culture." Critic Robert Mayo, in "The Times of lyric ballads >", also said: "we have been told too much of the revolutionary character of lyric ballads. They are undoubtedly revolutionary, but not in every way. Apart from the fact that they are better than any of the other poems published in 1798, the lyrical ballads are not quite as radical a transformation as some writers would have us believe. Its novelty has been exaggerated. In fact, lyric ballads has a traditional side, but it's overlooked... In many ways they follow the model of 1798, reflecting the general tastes and attitudes of the time." Through comparing with the poems of newspapers and magazines at that time, we can see that the characteristics of The Times of lyric ballads are very obvious. It is interesting to note that the Mayo research also published "lyrical ballads Wordsworth's purpose is to make money, therefore, in the second edition, the poet" willing to add some things to make this book more suitable for the public taste "Robert ・ Mayo main purpose lies in Wordsworth's poems from belongs to the 18th century sentimentalism trend.
In the middle of the 18th century, Britain's industrial revolution began, and by the 1960s and 1970s, it had swept the country. The land-enclosure movement led to the bankruptcy of many rural owner-farmers, the establishment of many new factories in the cities, and the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Many of the poets and writers of the enlightenment became dissatisfied with social reality. On the one hand, they continued to fight against the feudal forces, on the other hand, they also saw the contradictions in the development of capitalism. They believe that there is no distinction between noble and inferior in literature, which is contrary to the tradition of neoclassical society as the subject matter, but focuses on the countryside to describe the working people and demands the democratization of language. They were dissatisfied with the emphasis of neoclassicism on reason, and they emphasized emotion instead, trying to show people's inner world and psychology with a melancholy and plaintive tone, thus forming the creative atmosphere of sentimentality. They have inherited the enlightenment tradition, still adhere to the belief that "people are good", and firmly believe that human morality can be perfected. They should use affection and love as weapons to educate society. These characteristics are also Shared by Wordsworth's poems.
Oliver goldsmith, the representative of sentimentalism, is famous for his "desert village". The poet's intention was to regret the disappearance of the pastoral life, and to use the former happiness to compare the misery caused by the enclosure movement. Wordsworth's the ruined cottage is very similar. "Ruined cottage" tells the story of a rural woman who waited for her husband to join the army, but eventually did not wait, and died of depression; the husband, who had been a diligent peasant, was driven into the army by one or two lean years. In the past, two travelers pass through here, the cottage is quiet and tidy, the hostess is hospitable, but now the house destroyed, the scene is all non.
Clapp, another sentimental poet, wrote "the village", another bleak description of the countryside, but with a more specific, harsher tone and a stronger condemnation of the enclosure movement. Wordsworth also wrote many poems about the bankrupt peasants of the industrial revolution, which are in line with the village.
Also worth mentioning is gray's elegy for the cemetery. The poet lingered in the village cemetery, brooding over the question of life and death. The poem highlights gray's sympathy for the unappreciated commoners, which is democratic to some extent. At the same time, the author intoned the nature around the cemetery in a bleak tone, with profound sentimental feelings. Wordsworth also wrote a lot of sentimental poems about cemeteries. For example, the famous "Lucy" group of poems depicted a young girl who died in infancy, expressing the poet's thoughts on life and death. Elegy for the cemetery also embodies some characteristics of neoclassical poetry. The spirit of advocating reason in neoclassicism was inherited by gray, which was characterized by clear thinking and clarity. At the same time, some reason was retained in the poem. The poetic language is elegant but not piled up, smooth but not loose, which is consistent with the requirement that neoclassical poetry attaches great importance to linguistic norms. This poem is a good example of the combination of sentimentality and neoclassicism. Comparing many of Wordsworth's poems, it is not difficult to find that his poems are quite similar to gray's. When Wordsworth rose to literary prominence, however, he took aim at gray, pointing to another of his poems as an example of how rigid and false the "poetic language" of the 18th century was. This is just like what Mr. Wang zuoliang thinks: "in the ups and downs of literary trends, there is always a phenomenon that those who rise up and those who fall down are usually not the real enemies, but the forerunners who show even slight differences."
"They followed the literary model of the day," says Robert Mayo. "it wasn't that they discovered an interest in rivers, valleys, woods, lakes, mountains, flowers, budding trees, changing seasons, sunsets, crisp mornings and bird calls. This fact was common at the time. Wordsworth, however, went further... Wordsworth was regarded as a pioneer in describing the wild, a 19th century view, and a view of some contemporary critics and historians who were struck by some of the superficial features of the lyric ballads. They may have been misled by the vagueness of the propaganda of 1798, which exceeded the facts." Indeed, if Wordsworth, famous for his advocacy of "emotion", "imagination" and "pastoral life", innovated more than inherited neoclassicism in the first half of the 18th century, he inherited more than reformed sentimentality in the second half of the 18th century. Sentimentalism was the forerunner of romanticism, and Wordsworth's poems were born in the soil of sentimentalism, not without roots.
The English poet T.S. Eliot said, "the past is changed by the present, as the present is guided by the past." This sentence contains a dialectical thought: the development of history is always continuous. This is a kind of thought that our country academic circle often lacks. People often view the replacement of literary trends of thought from the perspective of binary opposition, only seeing fission, but ignoring continuity. As Mr. Jiang chengyong believed, once writers' works were included in the door of "doctrine" and sealed with "basic principles", literary research would produce one-sidedness and misunderstanding. Wordsworth's inheritance of the English poetry tradition in the 18th century exactly illustrates the law of the continuity of the development of literary history.