Wordsmith theory of language of poetry and Coleridge criticism on It, is of great significance In the history of literary criticism. Wordsmith revolts against the poetic diction of eighteenth century. HIS theory has some merits and at the same time has certain demerits. Rejection of Poetic Diction and Background of his theory Wordsmith rejects poetic diction by saying, “avoid poetic diction”. He says that neither there Is nor could be any deference in the language of prose and that of metrical composition. Previous critics like DRP.
Johnson were of the opinion that a noble and graceful action Is degraded when described in ordinary and simple language. Gray said that language of the age could not be the language of poetry. Against this, Wordsmith revolted and declared his theory of poetic diction. He said that poet is a man speaking of men and his language should be simple to communicate his feelings and ideas. Recommendation of new language Wordsmith gives the new theory for language of poetry, according to that it should be “A selection of real language of men in a state of vivid sensation”.
By men he means rustic folk and humble people, by selection he means that this language should be purified of Its absurdities and coarseness. Arguments Supporting his Theory There two main arguments with which he supports the theory. First is that rustic people hourly communicate with nature and the best part of the language is derives from communicating with nature, so their language should be the language of poetry. Secondly, their language is simple and clear, so it is more suitable for poetry. Weak Points of his theory
When Wordsmith says that there should not be any difference In the language of prose and poetry, he does not make clear that whether he means the vocabulary or the position of words. If he means the vocabulary, then we can agree with him but there is definite difference between position of the words in prose and poetry. Wordsmith advocates meter for several reasons. We know that this is artificial as poetic diction. Wordsmith says that it adds pleasure and controls the emotion. Coleridge Criticism of the theory
Coleridge repudiates almost all the points of theory including the two main points. He says that best part of language is not derived from communicating with nature but from the reflection of acts of mind itself. Secondly, if the rustic language is purified then it will be no more rustic. Conclusion Although Wordsmith’s theory of poetic Dalton has some Limitations, yet It Is very great significance in the history of English literature; the difference between language of prose and poetry is getting less and less.