Aesthetic literary forms encapsulate Romantic period. Romanticism is an artistic movement that changed how people in the Western cultures perceived themselves and the world. That shift in the understanding of life inculcated individualism, reverence, and idealism. Romanticism is one of the most distinctive artistic movements because its influence and values have extended to the contemporary poetry. The strongholds of the Romantic movement were Germany and England. However, its essence later spread over Europe to France and other countries. Many prominent artists contributed to Romanticism creating new traditions and forms. For example, William Wordsworth embodies a distinguished poet who aimed to express spiritual journey of people. William Wordsworth’s works reflect the basic tenets of Romanticism, and his contribution had a great influence on British literary history.
During that literary movement, the majority Romantic poets belonged to political radicals who were against oppression. They acted against the imperial traditions which formed the key aspects of English economy. William Wordsworth joined them because he did not want to accept injustice and suffering. Moreover, his poems opposed neoclassical notions and neoclassical poetry in general. The first romantic elements appeared in English literature in the 1790s aiming to emphasize the emotions as a source of aesthetic experience (Labbe 146). According to Wordsworth, poetry is the flow of emotions recollected in tranquillity. Therefore, he conceived of the poetry as an emphasis on genuine feelings which a human being could experience. As a result, he focuses on the form eliminating intellectual approach (Bennett 36). His contribution to Romanticism was premised on the idea that poetry should consist of the raw materials from the scenes and events of everyday life as well as dialogues between ordinary people. Moreover, William Wordsworth embodies the driving force of Romanticism because he evoked images of love and sentimentality.
Romanticism was dependent on the tenets of mysticism, revolutionary spirit, and the love for nature (Casaliggi and Fermanis 76). William Wordsworth was among the first Romantic poets who developed those principles in his poetry. Together with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he depicted them in one of the most popular works of that time – Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems (Bennett 173). Its publication marked the beginning of a new era of English poetry and the end of Neoclassicism (Labbe 112). The Romantic poets, such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, focused on the imagination rather than industrial phenomena. They were eager to reflect on the supernatural aspects of life. As a result, they made poetry more real and natural compared to the works from the eighteenth century. In addition, the literary works of that period inculcated a perception that art was the valuable source of illuminating the inner world. It should not have become the mirror of the external world.
Moreover, the Romantic art considered myth and symbolism to be powerful tools for depicting real life. Symbols could express many concepts and be used as correlatives of human emblematic language (Casaliggi and Fermanis 112). William Wordsworth could use masterfully his power of imagination to create a sense of wonder in ordinary persons. He achieved it through the use of myth and symbolism which were becoming more and more popular during Romanticism. However, the activity of imagination was accompanied by greater emphasis on the importance of intuition, feelings as well as instincts (Bennett 183). In addition, he could raise nature to the level of human thought and consolidate the ideas of the Romantic movement with his poetry and practice.
The Romantic literary art depicted nature as an alternative to the world of enlightenment thought due to its uncontrollable power and unpredictability. For this reason, Wordsworth had a great influence on the literary history because he made an explicit connection between poetic dictions as well as revealed the relationship between nature and society. Moreover, William Wordsworth focused on supernaturalism, mysticism, and personal egotism. In addition, he also showed concerns towards the elitism of earlier poets. At that time, ordinary people could not comprehend fully their language and subject matter. Consequently, William Wordsworth had an integral role in revolutionizing the realm of poetry by using common language which made it easier to understand and digest poetry (Bennett 134). In addition, Wordsworth started to include important romantic themes, including nature and emotions, into the poetry.
It is also imperative to acknowledge that the Romantic period was a revolt against the classical tradition which also featured positive trends. Undoubtedly, William Wordsworth was a pioneer of that movement. He was a deeply compassionate man who did not want to remain indifferent to the suffering of others. He was willing to show the simplicity of life. Besides, unlike the eighteenth-century poets who focused on wit, Wordsworth used imagination to make daily moments look beautiful. In fact, his investigation of the relationship between nature and human mind continued in the poem titled The Prelude, which was addressed to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Bennett 63). The Prelude features deep meditations on the nature of life and how it relates to a poet (Labbe 40). His objective is to recapture the detailed image of experiences that have played an important role in shaping his mind. It is essentially the idealized version of his spiritual growth because he depicts a higher reality of imagination. The fact that he could openly write about his feelings and experiences proves that he is a confessional poet (Labbe 76). It explains why his literary works had a huge influence on the Victorian poets and novelists. Moreover, he was also a realist because he manifested his Romanticism as deeply rooted realism. William Wordsworth also wrote sonnets that aimed at condemning Napoleon and awakening England from lethargy. Some of his other influential literary works were “Immortality Ode” and “Ode to Duty.”
William Wordsworth was also subjective because he managed to express his personal thoughts through his poems. Similarly, he had an immense enthusiasm for humanity. He showed his admiration towards the ideals that were the impetus to the French Revolution. His openness to the problems of others proved that his theory of poetry was unconventional. In fact, the second edition of Lyrical Ballads became a manifesto for original concepts prevailed in Romanticism. William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge regarded feeling and imagination to be highly important in poetry creation. The collection focuses on the pathos and potentialities of ordinary lives. The preface to Lyrical Ballads contains the cardinal features that characterize William Wordsworth’s poetry. Particularly, his verses have uncomplicated syntax and direct phrasings thus belonging to a straightforward style of poetry. Wordsworth was both a quintessential poet as well as a self-conscious literary who always described his own mind as a recipient of external sensations.
In conclusion, the period of Romanticism was a revolt against political and social aspects in the West. It was strongly represented in literature and visual arts. It emphasized self-expression and individual uniqueness by associating them with nature, symbolism, and imagination. The most notable feature was the role of individual thought and personal feeling. In the Romantic period, poets expressed love for nature as well as reverence for human imagination. William Wordsworth was one of the most remarkable figures of British Romanticism. His great contribution to English literature makes him one of the pioneers of new literary forms which are characterized by simple and straightforward language. Thus, his poetry rejoices the beauty and spiritual values of the natural world.