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Lyrical Ballads (Penguin Classics) Paperback – January 30, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


'All who teach English literature of the period will have felt the need of a volume such as this, which will retain its authority for a long time to come.' - The Year's Work in English Studies

'It is an edition of a formative work which all students and lovers of English poetry will warmly welcome.' - Times Education Supplement --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Coleridge (1772-1834) has been criticized as a political turn-coat, drug addict and plagiarist whose wrecked career left only a handful of magical early poems. But the shaping influence of his highly imaginative criticism is now generally accepted,and his position, along with Wordsworth (1770-1850), as one of the two great progenitors of the English Romantic spirit is assured. A great innovator, Wordsworth permanently enlarged the range of English poetry both in subject matter and treatment. Michael Schmidt is Professor of English and Director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is the author of the critical history LIVES OF THE POETS (1999), THE STORY OF POETRY (five volumes, 2001-), and THE FIRST POETS: LIVES OF THE ANCIENT GREEK POETS.

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (January 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780140424621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140424621
  • ASIN: 0140424628
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Quijas on October 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not a scholar in any sense of the word, but I feel the need to stress how wonderful this collection is.

"Lyrical Ballads" is often said to be the beginning of the Romantic Movement, a claim which I can neither refute or prove. What I can say for certain, though, is that it is filled with some of the most moving, thought provoking, and beautiful verses ever put on paper. Whether you are looking for something dark, something whimsical, an epic tale, or a sweet romance-there is something in the collection that will appeal to you. Wordsworth and Coleridge are both masters of their craft, a fact that they prove in "Lyrical Ballads"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Daniel R. Sanderman VINE VOICE on April 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
This edition of LYRICAL BALLADS brings together both the 1798 edition (including the Advertisement that prefaced the work) and the 1800 edition (with the Preface that replaced the Advertisement) in one convenient volume. The editors, R.L. Brett and A.R. Jones, have included quite an extensive introduction, a nice bibliography, end notes to the poems, multiple appendices, and an index. It is the perfect volume to purchase if you are going to study the LYRICAL BALLADS, particularly the changes that occurred between their first and second printing.

Most of my praise will go out to this edition, as the quality of the poetry contained in it is beyond question. This early work of both Coleridge and Wordsworth finds them at the height of their powers. For those less familiar with the LYRICAL BALLADS, I will mention some of my favorite poems in the work to give you a sense of what this volume contains:

1798 Edition - "Rime of the Ancyent Marinere," "We are seven," "Lines written in early spring," "The Thorn," "Expostulation and Reply," "The Tables Turned," "Tintern Abbey."

1800 Edition - "A slumber did my spirit seal," "Lucy Gray," "Nutting," "Michael."

And now, to end this review, I shall leave you with a few lines from one of my favorite poems, one that addresses me as I spend long hours studying hard into the night to uncover the "truth" of the world:

THE TABLES TURNED by William Wordsworth

Up! Up! my friend, and clear your looks,

Why all this toil and trouble?

Up! Up! my friend, and quit your books,

Or surely you'll grow double.


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MildCreativeBreeze on November 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
Wordsworth and Coleridge's 'Lyrical Ballads' was revolutionary at the time of publication, and remains one of the most important volumes in the history of English Literature. The volume contains Coleridge's famous 'Ancient Mariner', as well as popular Wordsworth pieces such as 'Tintern Abbey' and 'Michael'.

A first time reader may not quite understand what all the fuss us about, as some of Wordsworth's pieces can seem facile and at times banal, something contemporary critics savaged him for. To truly grasp the spirit of the volume the reader must take time to absorb Wordsworth's 'Advertisment' in which he outlines the 'experimental' nature of the volume, as a reaction against the the artificiality and 'innane phraseology' of the majority of popular poetry at the time.

Wordsworth uses simple language to produce intimate sketches of ordinary people: a humble begger, an idiot boy, or the female vagrant, and he does so with great sensitivity and feeling, showing us that compassion and feeling of the simplest people makes them as worthy as any privileged man. No reader will soon forget the Lucy poems, in which the narrator recalls a girl he once loved, and mourns her tragic early death. Whether Lucy was ever a real person, let alone an object of Wordsworth's affection however is another matter.

There are weak links in the collection such as 'Lines Written in Early Spring', which could be justifiably labelled 'namby-pamby' (a term Byron used to describe a certain type of Wordsworth poem). However, the most impressive piece in the whole collection must be Tintern Abbey, a poem which could never be labelled facile or 'namby pamby', it is a spiritual, philosophical, and profoundly moving poem rich with memorably powerful turns of phrase and an intoxicating pslamic quality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Martin Asiner on January 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
When William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge published their collaborative volume of verse Lyrical Ballads in 1798 the reaction of critics was harsh. These critics hardly knew what to make of poems that violated the very essence of the classical mode then prevalent. This classical mode was based on the idea of decorum which required poets to write poetry only on a suitably lofty theme using equally lofty style. The focus on versification was for the poet to rhapsodize on things themselves and underlying all this was a core of reason and logic. Wordsworth and Coleridge were audacious enough to try to change not only the rules of the art but the art itself. They sought to move the center of interest from the subject to the poet. Whatever the poet may envision, the subject had to share center stage with nature and the poet's experiencing of the interplay of the three.

To make this shift from objective subject to subjective experience, Wordsworth and Coleridge had the daunting task to redefine the previously held parameters that linked the two. Where poetry had once been the domain of the wealthy and the high-born, they sought to democratize the process by zeroing in on the other end of the political and social order: the poor, the low-born, the mental defective, and the innocent child. Wordsworth especially personified nature as a sentient background upon which his rustic subjects lived and breathed. A man, a child, a tree, or a flower all were but starting points in a poem. During the course of the poem, Wordsworth's subject would unexpectedly expand into a vast cosmic panorama. "Incidents from common life" became a mantra both in the Preface and in the poems proper. The more humble were the subjects, the more palpable the connection between poet and reader.
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