Wordsworth’s Preface to Lyrical Ballads helped launch the revolution of Romantic poetry, but today it manages to boldly advocate traditional notions of linguistic reference. This it does by supporting the notion that words are properly rooted in real things, and that writers can evoke experience through natural expression.
There is curvy; there is straight; and all in between.
There is base; there is noble; and the even mean.
That itself is stunning, but what is more is that there is language for all of that, indeed, one would suspect, for everything. And why should that be so, in a world merely naturally evolved? The issue of innate power in language, and man’s central place in the world, by eye, by ear, by mind, heart, and mouth, are what Wordsworth helps us tackle through this essay.