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.