Why does Wordsworth select rustic materials for his poetry?

William Wordsworth, forerunner of the romantic poets, proclaims his own theory about the selection of rustic materials in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads, which is regarded as the unofficial manifesto of the Romantic Movement. He differs from urban life from rural life. His striking features of poetry are rustic elements. 

Reasons of using rustic materials: William Wordsworth uses rustic life, language and people in his poetry. Behind this, there are several reasons in accordance with Wordsworth.

Rustic language is simple but highly emotional: Wordsworth believes that the language of the rustics is simple, but at the same time highly emotional and passionate. Their language is more vivid, more forceful, more emphatic and more precise. He also advocates to support his views that,

  • It comes from the heart and thus goes directly to the heart.
  • It is also more philosophical and permanent language.
  • It is capable of giving the highest poetic pleasure.

Rustic language is the real language of man: Language for poetry, according to Wordsworth, should be the real language of rustic man. It must not be separated from the language of man in real life. He affirms in his Preface to Lyrical Ballads that the language of poetry is,

 “a selection of language really used by men, and, at the same time, to throw over them a certain colouring of imagination.” 

Of course, the language also must be selected or purified from its possible coarseness,”painfulness or any disgusting aspect. The selection of language is very necessary. because the aim of a poet is to give pleasure. So without selection, a language must be detracted from the pleasure. In this case, Wordsworth selects rustic language. 

Rustic life and people: Wordsworth was highly influenced by the rustic people and their lifestyle. That is why again and again he went to rural areas. He wrote Michael, Ode, intimations of immortality, Tintern Abbey. These poems reveal Wordsworth’s rustic elements. 

Healing power of nature: As a poet of nature, Wordsworth believed that nature has the power of healing the wounded heart. Nature can remove the pain and sufferings. It encourages and influences highly to overcome all the shortcomings. To express the healing power of nature Wordsworth reveals the rustic life.

Read More: According to Wordsworth, what is the connection between good poetry and feelings? 

Mottaleb Hossain
Mottaleb Hossain

This is Motaleb Hossain, working on studying, a researcher on English literature and Theology.

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