Examine the purpose spontaneity, emotions and personality serve in Wordsworth’s theory of poetry.


Q. Examine the purpose spontaneity, emotions and personality serve in Wordsworth’s theory of poetry.

The purpose spontaneity, emotions and personality serve in Wordsworth’s theory of poetry. , In Wordsworth's 1802 preface, he presents a significant definition of poetry, stating that it is "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" and originates from "emotion recollected in tranquility." This statement highlights the importance of mood and inspiration in the creation of poetry.

The influence of Hartley can be clearly observed throughout the poems of Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth believed that nature held the key to the most valuable knowledge for humanity. According to his reasoning, those individuals who were closest to nature, such as farmers and shepherds living in the countryside, possessed this essential wisdom. It was these individuals and their experiences that Wordsworth turned to when depicting his poetic visions in Lyrical Ballads. However, critics swiftly criticized his choice, suggesting that he was incapable of distinguishing between poetry and agronomy. In response to these criticisms, Wordsworth republished the poems and included his infamous Preface. In this Preface, he indirectly conveyed to the critics their own ignorance regarding the true nature of poetry, although he refrained from expressing it explicitly.

Examine the purpose spontaneity, emotions and personality serve in Wordsworth’s theory of poetry.

Wordsworth asserts that poetry emerges from the genuine emotions of the poet, and there is a sense of spontaneity in the expression of these feelings. He emphasizes that powerful emotions are essential for the creation of great poetry. However, it is important to note that Wordsworth does not advocate for a chaotic or uncontrolled outpouring of emotions.

 While poetry is born from the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, he adds a corollary that the origin of poetry lies in the recollection of emotions in a state of tranquility. At first glance, these two assertions may seem contradictory, but Wordsworth's theory of poetry seeks to reconcile them. In his view, poetry is the synthesis of powerful feelings and profound thoughts.


The poetic process has four-stage for the successful composition to take place. It is not an easy process. The four-stage of the process are recollection, contemplation, recrudescence or renewal of the original emotion and composition.

The poetic process, according to Wordsworth, consists of four distinct stages that must be traversed for successful composition to occur. This process is not an effortless one, but rather requires careful engagement and creative effort. The four stages of the poetic process, as proposed by Wordsworth, are recollection, contemplation, recrudescence or renewal of the original emotion, and composition.

The first stage of recollection involves the poet's act of recalling past experiences and emotions. This recollection serves as the foundation for poetic inspiration, as it enables the poet to tap into the reservoir of memories and feelings that will fuel their creative endeavor. Wordsworth believed that genuine poetry arises from personal experiences and emotions, so the process of recollection is crucial in connecting the poet with their innermost thoughts and sensations.

The stage of contemplation. Here, the poet engages in deep reflection and introspection, contemplating the significance and meaning of the recollected experiences and emotions. This contemplative stage allows the poet to delve deeper into the complexities of their memories and emotions, extracting profound insights and connections. Through contemplation, the poet gains a greater understanding of the subject matter they seek to convey in their poetry.

The third stage involves the recrudescence or renewal of the original emotion. After the initial recollection and subsequent contemplation, the poet experiences a resurgence of the intense emotions associated with the original experience. This recrudescence serves as a revitalization of the poet's emotional connection to the subject matter. It is through this renewal of emotions that the poet rekindles the passion and intensity necessary for the creation of powerful and evocative poetry.

The final stage of the poetic process is composition. Once the recollection, contemplation, and recrudescence have taken place, the poet is ready to translate their experiences and emotions into written form. This stage involves the actual act of crafting the poem, where the poet carefully selects words, structures, and literary devices to convey their thoughts and emotions effectively. The composition stage requires skill, craftsmanship, and attention to detail to create a work of art that captures the essence of the poet's original inspiration.

It is important to note that the poetic process is not a linear progression. It is a dynamic and iterative cycle where the poet may move back and forth between the stages, refining their recollection, deepening their contemplation, and further renewing their emotions as they shape their composition. Each stage informs and enriches the others, culminating in the creation of a poem that encapsulates the poet's experiences and emotions in a powerful and meaningful way.



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