Preface to the Lyrical Ballads

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The preface to the Lyrical Ballads is an essay, composed by William Wordsworth, for the second edition (published in January 1801, and often referred to as the "1800 Edition") of the poetry collection Lyrical Ballads, and then greatly expanded in the third edition of 1802. It has come to be seen as a de facto manifesto of the Romantic movement.

The four guidelines of the manifesto include:

  1. Ordinary life is the best subject for poetry. (Wordsworth uses common man's language.)
  2. Everyday language is best suited for poetry
  3. Expression of feeling is more important than action or plot
  4. "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of emotion" that "takes its origin from emotion, recollected in tranquility." - William Wordsworth

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