Expostulation And Reply By William Wordsworth

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“The ‘revolutionary decade’ of the 1790s produced literature that was not only distinguished by new and often radical ideas, but also by experimentation and innovation with regard to genre and form.” Discuss with reference to Lyrical Ballads and/or Maria and/or Northanger Abbey.

In this essay, I will discuss how the literature produced by the revolutionary decade of the 1970’s was distinguished by new and radical ideas, and experimentation with regard to genre and form, in relation to William Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads. The poem which I will be drawing from in this essay is “Expostulation and Reply”, and the Preface to Lyrical Ballads.

Wordsworth was a child of nature, he grew up in a rustic environment, in which he spent much time playing
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This was, interestly, a common theme in the writings of the Romantic period, as the rural areas were depopulated due to the Industrial Revolution. The landscape is often prominent in the poetry of this period, so that it the Romantics, especially Wordsworth, are often described as 'nature poets'. (Abrams,…show more content…
The poem is set in the Lake District of Wordsworth’s youth, and embodies the ideals of the Romantic Era; that nature and human intuition have a kind of knowledge not found in books and formal education. When confronted as to why he spends his time at the lake, musing and contemplating, Wordsworth replies with what was to become a memorable moment in english literature; nature nurtures the mind in a unique way, with it’s own wisdom, one which cannot be found in the pages of scholarly books. To stimulate his senses entirely, a man must just sit in the presence of nature. This was an idea found in the works of many romantic poets, who were thought to have a distrust in mankind, but found peace and knowledge in closeness with nature. Romantic poetry allowed us to see their world directly and "much of romantic poetry invited the reader to identify the protagonists with the poets themselves.”(Abrams)

The metre of this poem is in iambic tetrameter, which places emphasis on the power of nature. For example, in the first line, the words “old” and “stone” are emphasised by the metre, pointing towards the poets belief in the power and importance of nature. Again, in the third stanza, the metre points towards “moth” and “earth”, furthering the pointed use of nature as a genre. “it has been common in critical writing since the romantic period to equate the loosening of specifically metrical restrictions
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