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Power, Plain English, and the Rise of Modern Poetry$
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David Rosen

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100716

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100716.001.0001

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Wordsworth's Empirical Imagination

Wordsworth's Empirical Imagination

Chapter:
(p.33) Chapter 2 Wordsworth's Empirical Imagination
Source:
Power, Plain English, and the Rise of Modern Poetry
Author(s):

David Rosen

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300100716.003.0003

This chapter examines a passage from “The Empirical Imagination” which marks a watershed in Wordsworth's career. This is the first time that Wordsworth turns to blank verse—his previous works mostly constituting of either couplets or stanzas. Coincidentally, it is also in these lines that we find Wordsworth first use the plain, low register of English. Poems written later by Wordsworth that were influenced by James Thomson—such as “An Evening Walk”—would also draw heavily on plain English in long passages that would focus on giving a picturesque description. This chapter thus explores the means through which Wordsworth both began to discover and make use of plain English, and what possibly prompted this mode. Furthermore, it also explores Wordsworth's theory of imagination, a theory that was brought to his attention in his earlier works such as Lyrical Ballads.

Keywords:   The Empirical Imagination, Wordsworth, blank verse, plain English, An Evening Walk, James Thomson, theory of imagination, Lyrical Ballads

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