Name: Sumra Jitendra V.
Class: M.A. [English]
Roll No. : 16
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:
. 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.
 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
. 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.’