Saturday, 3 November 2012


Name:  Sumra Jitendra V.
Class: M.A. [English]
Semester: 03
Roll No. : 16
Year: 2012-13
Paper No. : 103
Paper Name: “ Literary Theory and Criticism ”
Assignment Topic: “ Theme And Subject Matter of Poetry.”


Themes and subject matter of poetry:

Wordsworth’s enormous legacy on a large number of poems written by him. But the themes that run through Wordsworth‘s poetry remained consistent throughout. Even the language and imagery he used embody those themes, remained remarkably consistent. Any subject between heaven and earth can be treated poetically and the similar idea is noted by Wordsworth in 1798,

“It is the honorable characteristic of poetry that its materials are to be found in every subject which can interest the human mind.”

Wordsworth states that subjects are poetic and unpoetic in themselves. A slight incident of village life may be material for poetry, if the poet can make it meaningful. Thus Wordsworth extends the scope of poetry, by bringing within its folds themes chosen from humble and common life. Wordsworth’s aim was to choose incidents and situations from common life, to relate them in a selection of language really used by men. The reason that he gave was that the rustic people were close to nature and hence free from artificiality and vanity.

Wordsworth argued that poetry should be written in the real language of common man, rather than in the lofty and elaborated dictions that were then considered “Poetic”. He believed that the first principle of poetry should be pleasure and so the chief duty of poetry is to provide pleasure through a rhythmic and beautiful expressing of feeling. All human sympathy, he asserted, is based on a subtle pleasure principle that is “the naked and native dignity of man”.

Wordsworth elaborated on this idea in the “Preface” to the 1800 and 1802 editions which outline his main ideas of a new theory of theory. Wordsworth explained his poetical concept.

 “The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments. They were written chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is the purpose of poetic pleasure.”

Wordsworth’s Opinions about theme and subject matter of poetry:

[1]. Object [Subject matter of poetry]

The principle objects, and then proposed in these poems was to chose incidents and situations from common life. And to  relate  and describe  them, throughout, as far as  possible  in a  selection of  language  really  used by  men,  and  at the same time , to throw  over  them a certain  coloring  of imagination , whereby  ordinary  things  should  be  presented  to the mind  in an unusual   aspect,  and further  and above  all, to make  these situations  and incidents  interesting  by tracing  in them , truly  though  not  ostentation ally  the primary  laws of  our  nature: chiefly as  regards   the  manner in which we associate  ideas  in a state of excitement.

[2] Humble and rustic life [Subject matter of poetry]

 Humble and rustic life was generally chosen. because  in  that condition , that  essential   passions of the  heart find  a better  soil  in which  they  can  attain  maturity  ,  are  less  under restraint , and  speak  a plainer  and  more  emphatic  language ; because  in that  condition  may be rural  accurately  contemplated  and  more  forcibly  communicated ; because  the  manners  of  rural life  germinate  from  these  elementary  feelings , and  from  the  necessary  character  of  rural  occupations , are more  easily  comprehended   and  are ,ore  durable  and  lastly  because  in that  condition  the  passions   of  men are incorporated  with  the beautiful  and permanent  forms  of nature

[3]. Language [Style of poetry]

 The  language  too,  of these  men  has been  adopted  purified  indeed  from  what  appear  to be  its  real  defects , from  all lasting  and  rational  causes  o  dislike  and  disgust  and disgust  - because  such  men  communicate  with  the  best  objects  from  which  the best  part  of  language  is originally  derived  and  because  from  their  rank in society   and   the  sameness and  narrowed  circle  of  their  intercourse , being  less under the  influence  of social variety , that  convey  their  feelings  and  notions  in  simple  and  unelaborated  expression s.  Accordingly , such  a  language , arising  out  of the  repeated  experience  and  regular  feelings  is  a  more  permanent  and  a far  ,ore  philosophical  language  than  that   which  is a frequently  substituted   for  it by poets  who  think  that they  are conferring  honor  upon   themselves  and  their   art  on  proportion   as  they  separate  themselves  from  the  sympathies   of men ,  and  induce  in  arbitrary  and  capricious  habits  of  expression , in  order   to  furnish  food for  fickle  appetites , of their  own  creation.

Definition of poetry

Passion and Reflection Wordsworth propounded his views on poetry, its nature and functions and the qualification of a true poet in his Preface. So far as the nature of poetry is concerned, Wordsworth is of the opinion that “poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”

Poetry has its origin in the internal feelings of the poet. It is a matter of passion, mood and temperament. Poetry cannot be produced by strictly adhering to the rules laid down by the Classicists. It must flow out naturally and smoothly from the soul of the poet. But it must be noted that good poetry, according to Wordsworth, is never an immediate expression of such powerful emotions. A good poet must ponder over them long and deeply. In the words of Wordsworth, “poetry has its origin in emotions recollected in tranquility.”

Thus , Wordsworth’s  views  on poetical style  are the  most  revolutionaries  of all the idea  in his  preface,  He  discarded  he   gaudiness and  inane  phraseology  of many  modern writers.  He  insist  that  his  poems  are  written  in “selection of  language of  men  in a state  of vivid  sensation.’  His  views  of  poetic  diction  can  be  summed up as  : ‘ there neither  is  nor  can  be  any  essential  difference between  the  language  of  prose  and metrical  composition.’

No comments:

Post a Comment