Paraphrasing Practice to Improve Writing


Paraphrasing Exercise 5

Read the following passage and paraphrase it by putting it into your own words.

It is natural, and in so rapid and superficial review as this inevitable, to consider the criticism of Wordsworth and Coleridge together. But we must keep in mind how very different were not only the men themselves, but the circumstances and motives of the composition of their principal critical statements. Wordsworth’s Preface to Lyrical Ballads was written while he was still in his youth, and while his poetic genius still had much to do; Coleridge wrote the Biographia Litteraria much later in life, when poetry, except for that one brief and touching lament for lost youth, had deserted him, and when the disastrous effects of long dissipation and stupefaction of his powers in transcendental metaphysics were bringing him to a state of lethargy. From T. S. Eliot, The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism: Studies in the Relation of Criticism to Poetry in England. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1961. Wordsworth and Coleridge 58-77.

Possible Paraphrase

There is not a single correct answer, but you could paraphrase the above passage by writing something like this:

The criticism of Wordsworth and Coleridge are usually examined together. However, it is important to remember that these two men were very different. Moreover, their works were written for different reasons and during different periods of their lives. Wordsworth wrote Preface to Lyrical Ballads when he was young and his life lay before him. Coleridge, on the other hand, wrote Biographia Litteraria near the end of his life.


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