Detailed Contents


      I  Motives to the present work—Reception of the Author's first
           publication—Discipline of his taste at school—Effect of
           contemporary writers on youthful minds—Bowles's Sonnets—
           Comparison between the poets before and since

     II   Supposed irritability of genius brought to the test of
            facts—Causes and occasions of the charge—Its injustice

    III  The Author's obligations to Critics, and the probable
           occasion—Principles of modern criticism—Mr. Southey's
           works and character

     IV  The Lyrical Ballads with the Preface—Mr. Wordsworth's
           earlier poems—On Fancy and Imagination—The investigation
           of the distinction important to the Fine Arts

      V  On the law of Association—Its history traced from Aristotle
           to Hartley

     VI  That Hartley's system, as far as it differs from that of
           Aristotle, is neither tenable in theory, nor founded
           in facts 

    VII  Of the necessary consequences of the Hartleian Theory—Of
           the original mistake or equivocation which procured its
           admission—Memoria technica

   VIII  The system of Dualism introduced by Des Cartes—Refined
           first by Spinoza and afterwards by Leibnitz into the
           doctrine of Harmonia praestabilita—Hylozoism—Materialism
           —None of these systems, or any possible theory of
           Association, supplies or supersedes a theory of
           Perception, or explains the formation of the Associable

     XI  Is Philosophy possible as a science, and what are its
           conditions?—Giordano Bruno—Literary Aristocracy, or the
           existence of a tacit compact among the learned as a
           privileged order—The Author's obligations to the Mystics-
           To Immanuel Kant—The difference between the letter and
           The spirit of Kant's writings, and a vindication of
           Prudence in the teaching of Philosophy—Fichte's attempt
           to complete the Critical system-Its partial success and
           ultimate failure—Obligations to Schelling; and among
           English writers to Saumarez 

      X  A Chapter of digression and anecdotes, as an interlude
          preceding that on the nature and genesis of the Imagination
          or Plastic Power—On Pedantry and pedantic expressions—
          Advice to young authors respecting publication—Various
          anecdotes of the Author's literary life, and the progress
          of his opinions in Religion and Politics 

     XI  An affectionate exhortation to those who in early life feel
          themselves disposed to become authors 

    XII  A Chapter of requests and premonitions concerning the perusal
          or omission of the chapter that follows 

   XIII  On the Imagination, or Esemplastic power

    XIV  Occasion of the Lyrical Ballads, and the objects originally
          proposed—Preface to the second edition—The ensuing
          controversy, its causes and acrimony—Philosophic
          definitions of a Poem and Poetry with scholia 

     XV  The specific symptoms of poetic power elucidated in a
          Critical analysis of Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis, and
          Rape of Lucrece 

    XVI  Striking points of difference between the Poets of the
          present age and those of the fifteenth and sixteenth
          centuries—Wish expressed for the union of the
          characteristic merits of both 

   XVII  Examination of the tenets peculiar to Mr. Wordsworth—
          Rustic life (above all, low and rustic life) especially
          unfavourable to the formation of a human diction-The
          best parts of language the product of philosophers, not of
          clowns or shepherds—Poetry essentially ideal and generic—
          The language of Milton as much the language of real life,
          yea, incomparably more so than that of the cottager 

  XVIII  Language of metrical composition, why and wherein essentially
          different from that of prose—Origin and elements of metre
          —Its necessary consequences, and the conditions thereby
          imposed on the metrical writer in the choice of his diction 

    XIX  Continuation—Concerning the real object, which, it is
          probable, Mr. Wordsworth had before him in his critical
          preface—Elucidation and application of this 

     XX  The former subject continued—The neutral style, or that
         common to Prose and Poetry, exemplified by specimens from
         Chaucer, Herbert, and others 

    XXI  Remarks on the present mode of conducting critical journals

   XXII  The characteristic defects of Wordsworth's poetry, with the
         principles from which the judgment, that they are defects,
         is deduced—Their proportion to the beauties—For the
         greatest part characteristic of his theory only 


  XXIII  Critique on Bertram

   XXIV  Conclusion