Lyrical Ballads: Wordsworth and Coleridge

Lyrical Ballads: Wordsworth and Coleridge

Lyrical Ballads: Wordsworth and Coleridge

Lyrical Ballads: Wordsworth and Coleridge

Synopsis

This is a comprehensively revised second edition of a classic student text with the 1798 and 1800 editions of Lyrical Ballads reprinted together. It contains the complete text of one of the most important documents of the Romantic movement - now with new introduction, textual variants and fully up-dated, copious notes.

Excerpt

The idea of Lyrical Ballads was conceived when Wordsworth and Coleridge were living as neighbours in the Quantocks; Wordsworth at Alfoxden and Coleridge at Nether Stowey. Wordsworth and Coleridge, accompanied by Dorothy Wordsworth, left Alfoxden on the 12th November 1797 to visit the Valley of Stones near Lynmouth. They proposed to meet the modest expenses of their walking-tour by writing a poem which might secure £5 from the editor of the Monthly Magazine. This poem was the Ancient Mariner, but it was not finished until March of the next year. Wordsworth withdrew from its composition early because he realized, as he told Miss Fenwick in later life, that he 'could only have been a clog' upon it.

By the time the poem was completed Coleridge was fairly well off, for the Wedgwood family had settled upon him an annuity of £150. Coleridge used his new-found independence to turn aside from the ballad poetry which had interested Wordsworth and himself in favour of his political odes. About this date he introduced Wordsworth to the Bristol bookseller and publisher, Joseph Cottle. In a letter dated the 9th May 1798, Wordsworth suggested to Cottle that he should publish Salisbury Plain and added, 'I have lately been busy about another plan which I do not wish to mention till I see you.' This plan probably referred to Lyrical Ballads, for on the 31st May, Dorothy Wordsworth, in a letter to her brother Richard, wrote, 'William has now some poems in the Bristol press.'

In March the Wordsworths had received the news that the lease of their house at Alfoxden was to be terminated in the summer and that they would then be homeless. After they had discussed various moves, Coleridge put forward the ambitious proposal that both their families should embark on a two-year

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