Wordsworth's theory of diction
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With the questions, "What is Wordsworth's theory of diction?", "Did Wordsworth put his theory into practice?", and, indirectly, though necessarily, "Is Wordsworth's theory a correct one?" this paper purposes to deal. In our study of these questions, we shall try to be just to Wordsworth, and true to the spirit of our own age, by considering briefly (1) the general character of the eighteenth century poetry against which Wordsworth protested, (2) the formal statement of this protest as it appears in the Advertisement of the Lyrical Ballads, and in the poems of that collection, and (3) the subsequent prefaces, particularly that of 1800, which grew out of the 1798 Advertisement, and all of Wordsworth's poems to which we think it at all likely his theory of diction was meant to apply. To these sources we shall trust for the "open sesame" that shall unlock the mystery.
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