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Evening Walk and Wordsworth's Use of Personification

Due, Ranay Leeanne
When the terms "neoclassic" and "Romantic" are applied to designate literary periods or styles, students of literature often find it difficult to understand the difference between the two. They are provided with dates that signal the beginnings and ends of the periods and lists of characteristics denoting conventions. Rarely, however, do they gain a full understanding of the reasons that changes in style and prosody take place. During the course of this study on Wordsworth's use of personification in An Evening Walk (1793), I have developed an awareness of the "shift in sensibility" that took place between the neoclassic and Romantic periods and the poet's way of connnunicating the new "feeling." I have come to understand Wordsworth's struggle: influenced by neoclassic standards in his early work, he found it necessary to abandon the stylistic practices of the neoclassicists in favor of a mode of expression better fitted to accommodate his "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings." Studying his transition from neoclassic to Romantic style provides tremendous insight into. the poetry of both periods and shows why Wordsworth's theory and practice represent major landmarks in English Romanticism.