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The Lyrical Ballads

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The Lyrical Ballads

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The Lyrical Ballads

A volume of verse entitled 'Lyrical Ballads, With A Few Other Poems', first published in Bristol in 1798, was one of the landmark moments in British poetry. It is a collaborative project that contains works by two of the foremost poetic talents of the age, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Among its finest works are Coleridge’s 'The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner' and 'The Nightingale', and Wordsworth’s 'The Idiot Boy' and 'Lines Written A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey'. The whole collaboration adds up to a milestone work of the English Romantic movement, the poems having been written mostly in the midst of the rural idyll of Somerset. At the time, the work was attacked in literary circles for the relatively humdrum nature of many of the poetic themes, together with the simple repetitive ballad format of narrative poems like the Mariner. Notwithstanding this early scepticism, the volume went through many reprints, with a clutch of new poems being added to the second edition of 1800, and remains a repository of some of the great achievements of English poetry’s golden age.

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“The Lyrical Ballads, the great collaborate collection of poetry written by Wordsworth and Coleridge, and first published in 1798, is one of the defining documents of the Romantic movement. Not only because it has a wonderfully democratic range of subjects and interests, but also because it arises from the kind of self- consciousness we recognise as being modern. The book is more than two hundred years old now, but still feels wonderfully fresh and new: it's a beacon, as well as an icon”.

Andrew Motion


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