Wordsworth, William. (1770 - 1850).
L i f e
- a lifelong friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: collaborated on Lyrical Ballads
- in youth radical x in middle age conservative in both politics and religion
W o r k
- associated with the ‘Lake Poets’
- focuses on ‘humble and rustic life’ where ‘the essential passions of the heart find a better soil’ and ‘speak a plainer and more emphatic language’
- concerned with ‘two consciousnesses’, himself as he is now x himself as he once was
> appointed Poet Laureate (1843 - 1850)
Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems (1798) = Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems (1800, 2nd edition):
- the Preface to the 2nd edition stated the manifesto of Romanticism and the theory of new poetry
- defines poetry as ‘the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings from emotions recollected in tranquillity’
> “Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey”:
- a conversation poem on his intense love to nature and its teachings
- inaugurates his myth of nature as a stimulus to thinking
> “The Ruined Cottage”:
- a powerful tragic poem, gradually revised to delete revolutionary aspects
Poems, in Two Volumes (1807):
> “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”:
- a delicate poem of occasional observation
> “Ode: Intimations of Immortality”:
- a poem of precise recall of sight and sound
> “My Heart Leaps up”, “The Solitary Reaper”, “The World is too much with us”, etc.
The Prelude; or, Growth of a Poet’s Mind (1850, posthumously):
- the ‘Prospectus’, i.e. prologue, to his intended long philosophical poem The Recluse
- his autobiographical masterpiece: shapes certain crucial incidents in his life into an ideal pattern of self-representation
- emphasizes the morally educative influence of nature and the interrelationship of a love of nature and a love of humanity
- describes his literal journeys x but: interprets them in retrospect as metaphors for a spiritual journey
(Sketch: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorWilliam Wordsworth. (1770 - 1850). British.
WorkPoet. Co-author of the Manifesto of Romanticism.
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Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.
Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
"Not in entire forgetfulness, / And not in utter nakedness, / But trailing clouds of glory, do we come / From God, who is our home."
From "Ode: Intimations of Immortality" (1807).