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William Wordsworth and T.S. Eliot

Good Essays
William Wordsworth and T.S. Eliot are both excellent and admirable poets from different time periods that have very distinct views on what it means to be a true poet. On one hand Wordsworth strived to be unique, romantic and sentimental in a time where people needed a poet as such. On the other hand, Eliot lived in a time where romanticism and sentimentalism did not satisfy readers that needed something less elevated and more realistic. Although they had opposing views neither is right or wrong and can only speak for the poets of their specific time period, yet one should not dismiss one or the other because each of their perspectives are equally valuable when deciding what it takes to be the ideal poet.

The Romantic Period was a time of revolution in England because of the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, and what reviewer Francis Jeffrey called “the revolution of our literature.” Percy Shelley stated in his “Defense of Poetry” that the literature of that period had “risen as it were from a new birth”, while William Hazlitt “maintained that the new poetry of the school of Wordsworth ‘had its origin in the French Revolution.’” (Stillinger and Lynch 5-6) This would explain the need that these poets had to be new, fresh, and unique. It also makes clear the fact that in his Preface to Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth states that the poet should be a man “endued with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm and tenderness, who has a greater knowledge of human nature, and a more comprehensive soul, than are supposed to be common among mankind” (Wordsworth 269). In short, Wordsworth believes that a true poet should be unique and posses the ability to create something completely new. Since the country was going through so many ...

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...n conclusion, neither poet is completely wrong or right because in writing their essays they were representing the ideal poet of their time, but if we were to unite their views we would have the exact formula for the ideal poet of all times or at least for now.

Works Cited

Eliot, T.S., “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” The Longman Anthology of British Literature.

Fourth Edition. David Damrosch and Kevin J.H. Dettamar. Boston: Pearson Education

Inc., 2010. 2330.

Stillinger, Jack and Deidre Shauna Lynch. “The Romantic Period.” The Norton Anthology of

English Literature. Eighth Edition. Stephen Greenblat and M.H. Abrams. New York:

W.W. Norton and Company 2006. 5-6.

Wordsworth, William. “Preface to Lyrical Ballads”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature.

Eighth Edition. Stephen Greenblat and M.H. Abrams. New York: W.W. Norton and

Company 2006. 269.