In this chapter I want to begin our discussion of Lyrical Ballads by concentrating on one of the major themes of Wordsworth’s poetry, that of childhood, and to focus in particular on his special interest in the development of the mind of the child. As well as being a major theme, childhood is also for Wordsworth an important location for a discussion of wider philosophical ideas involving the imagination and nature, which are discussed in subsequent chapters. Accordingly, although I have treated these (and other themes) in separate chapters it is important to be aware of their interrelatedness.
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