William Wordsworth (1770-1850), pioneer of the Romantic Movement, exposes his own doctrine about the poetic diction and the language of poetry in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads. The Preface, regarded as an unofficial manifesto of Romantic Movement, is a result against the artificiality of the neo-classical poetry. He has revolted against the artificial diction of the eighteenth century poets. He has wanted to enlarge the scope of poetic language and to find a suitable language for the expression of the new territory of human life.
Read More: What are the major objections of Coleridge to Wordsworth’s poetry?
Wordsworth’s view on Poetic diction
Before discussing the theory in detail, firstly we can mention that there are two traditions of poetic diction or language. One is that which advocates for a particular and distinctive language for poetry. And another one advocates only for the language, which is really spoken by man. According to Wordsworth, poetry does not need any special language or special devices. He breaks the classical tradition and innovates a simple, unaffected and natural style, which reaches the heart of man. So Wordsworth is rightly called that,
“He was the first poet to bring the language of poetry closer to the vocabulary of everyday speech.”
There are several characteristics of Wordsworth’s poetic diction.
- Language of rustics
- Real language of man
- Avoidance of artificial diction.
- Unnecessary use of phrases and terms.
- Meter, an additional charm in poetry
- Simple language but highly emotional
Read More: What are Coleridge’s major objections to Wordsworth’s language of poetry?