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The extqacts: from the Biographia Literaria are placed next to the Wordsworthian doctrines which they criticize; otherwise the arrangement of the essays is chronological.
American criticism is represented-inadequately, but, it is hoped, not unworthily-by the last two essays.
In the preparation of this volume I have received much valuable help from Mr. J. C. Smith, which I now gratefully acknowledge.
EDMUND D. JONES,
PAGE JAMES HORRO LÉIGN:HUNT, *1789-1859
An Answer to the Question: What is Poetry ?
MATTHEW ARNOLD, 1822–1888
The Choice of Subjects in Poetry. (1853)
JOHN RUSKIN, 1819–1900
Of the Pathetic Fallacy. (1856)
JOHN STUART MILL, 1806–1873
Thoughts on Poetry and its Varieties. (1833,
revised 1859) .
+ WALTER BAGEHOT, 1826–1877
Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Browning; or,
Pure, Ornate and Grotesque Art in English
WALTER HORATIO PATER, 1839-1894.
Coleridge's Writings. (1866).
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, 1803-1882
Shakespeare ; or, the Poet. (1850)
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, 1819-1891
POETRY AND POETIO DICTION
[Preface to the Second Edition of Lyrical Ballads, 1800]
THE first Volume of these Poems has already been submitted to general perusal. It was published, as an experiment, which, I hoped, might be of some use to ascertain, how far, by fitting to metrical arrangement a selection of the real language of men in a state of vivid sensation, that sort of pleasure and that quantity of pleasure may be imparted, which a Poet may rationally endeavour to impart.
I had formed no very inaccurate estimate of the probable effect of those Poems : I flattered myself that they who should be pleased with them would read them with more than common pleasure : and, on the other hand, I was well aware, that by those who should dislike them, they would be read with more than common dislike. The result has differed from my expectation in this only, that a greater number have been pleased than I ventured to hope I should please.
Several of my Friends are anxious for the success of these Poems, from a belief, that, if the views with which they were composed were indeed
realized, a class of Poetry would be produced, well adapted to interest mankind permanently, and not unimportant in the quality, and in the multiplicity of its moral relations : and on this account they have advised me to prefix a systematic defence of the theory upon which the Poems were written. But I was unwilling to undertake the task, knowing that on this occasion the Reader would look coldly upon my arguments, since I might be suspected of having been principally influenced by the selfish and foolish hope of reasoning him into an approbation of these particular Poems : and I was still more unwilling to undertake the task, because, adequately to display the opinions, and fully to enforce the arguments, would require a space wholly disproportionate to a preface. For, to treat the subject with the clearness and coherence of which it is susceptible, it would be necessary to give a full account of the present state of the public taste in this country, and to determine how far this taste is healthy or depraved; which, again, could not be determined, without pointing out in what manner language and the human mind act and re-act on each other, and without retracing the revolutions, not of literature alone, but likewise of society itself. I have therefore altogether declined to enter regularly upon this defence; yet I am sensible, that there would be something like impropriety in abruptly obtruding upon
the Public, without a few words of introduction, Poems so materially different from those upon which general approbation is at present bestowed.
It is supposed, that by the act of writing in verse an Author makes a formal engagement that