How does William Wordsworth's poetry fit into the literary tradition of Romanticism?

Essay by SeanMcQHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2003

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Romantic poetry was an artistic movement of the late 18th and early 19th century. It dealt with nature, human imagination, childhood and the ability to recall emotional memories of both happiness and sadness. Before Wordsworth began writing his revolutionary new style of poetry, all preceding poetry had a very different style.

The reason these poems were classed as revolutionary was because he believed that romantic poetry should describe "incidents of common life" and ordinary people and were written in deliberately plain words. It was what Wordsworth called "The real language of men".

Before this style of writing, all poems were about important things and people. They were written about Kings, Queens and Gods. All poems were of a formal nature and of epic proportions. Before Wordsworth, poets didn't believe that "common people" were good enough to have a poem written about them.

We see Wordsworth's Romantic style and the inclusion of memories, imagination, human feelings and ordinary people.

One such poem is "The Reverie of Poor Susan".

In this poem, we are told of Susan who is a woman from the country who is living and working in the city. As she passes by a bird singing in a cage, she seems to be saddened. Wordsworth wonders why this is, as he says the bird's song is very beautiful

" Tis a note of enchantment. What ails her?"

We then see that the reason for this is that Susan is very homesick and longs to be back in the country. She imagines the streets of London turning into hills and green pastures. She also imagines rivers running through the streets of London.

She is then "transported" through the power of her imagination, to her home. She sees her cottage and we see how happy she is.

"...and a single...