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Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a unique work of literature. first published in 1798, it marked a radical change in the direction of English Literature. Lyrical Ballads represented a movement away from the overwrought, highly formal and learned verse of the 18th century and in so doing ushered in a new, more democratic poetic era.
Written in the language of the common man and addressing the concerns of the common man, Lyrical Ballads was the first - and remains the most - truly revolutionary collection of poetry, paving the way for the great Romantic poets - keats, Byron, Shelley et al. - and proving that, while there was no actual revolution on the ground, England could still be the most revolutionary of places.
Lyrical Ballads was not a single phenomenon but a sequence of four editions spread over seven years; its appearance in English literature was not a historical moment but a sequence of moments - 1798, 1800, 1802, 1805. This edition - based on the 1805 edition, but looking back on each of the previous publications - shows how this collection developed, how it was refined and added to by the authors. No other edition on the market has such a wealth of key background information.
Professor Michael Mason was Professor of English at University College, London and the author of, among other things, "Victorian Sexuality". Professor John Mullan is Professor of English at University College, London and the author of numerous books, a regular pundit on The Late Review and a Guardian columnist. Professor Danny karlin is Professor of English at Boston University. He is the editor of T"he Poems of Browning" in the Longman Annotated English Poets series and author of numerous books.