William Wordsworth - Life Stories, Books, and Links
Biographical Information

Stories about William Wordsworth

Selected works by this author

Selected books about / related to this author

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Picture of William Wordsworth; British Literature / English Literature and poetry
Portrait: William Wordsworth, by William Shuter, 1798.
William Wordsworth
(1770 - 1850)

Category:  English Literature
Born:  April 7, 1770
Cockermouth, Cumbria, England
Died:  April 23, 1850
Rydal Mount, Westmorland, England
Related authors:
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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William Wordsworth - LIFE STORIES
3/27/1802     Wordsworth's "Intimations"
On this day in 1802 William Wordsworth began writing "Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood." The poem contains some of his most well-known lines and ideas -- that "the child is father of the man," that "birth is but a sleep and a forgetting," that "trailing clouds of glory do we come," however these must fade.
7/13/1798     Wordsworth at Tintern Abbey
On this day in 1798 William Wordsworth finished writing "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey," the poem being worked out in his head during a four-day walking tour of the Wye region, using his usual singsong, "booing and hawing" method. Delivered to the printers the next day, the poem would become the second most famous one in Lyrical Ballads, next to Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."
9/3/1802     Wordsworth's "Westminster Bridge"
On this day in 1802 William Wordsworth completed "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge," one of his best known short poems. Wordsworth was crossing Westminster on his way to France in order to see for the first time his nine-year-old daughter, Caroline, and her mother, Annette Vallon, with whom he had had an affair in 1791.
11/13/1797     Coleridge, Mariner, Albatross
On this day in 1797 William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge began a several days' walk in the Quantock Hills of Somerset, during which they would conceive "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." The original goal was a gothic pot-boiler to help pay for their vacation; left in Coleridge's hands, the tale evolved from a quick money-maker to a consuming, five-months' labor, within which lay many of his philosophical and psychological concerns.
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William Wordsworth: The Major Works
by William Wordsworth, Stephen Gill (Editor)
poetry, anthology
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Coleridge and Wordsworth: The Crucible of Friendship
by Tom Mayberry, Richard Holmes
literary history
The Hidden Wordsworth: Poet, Lover, Rebel, Spy
by Kenneth R. Johnston
non-fiction, biography
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Academy of American Poets
Offers a biography, poetry, bibliography, and links. Selected poems include "I wandered lonely as a cloud...," "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802," "My Heart Leaps Up," "Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood," "A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal," and "The world is too much with us; late and soon."

"Wordsworth's most famous work, The Prelude (1850), is considered by many to be the crowning achievement of English romanticism. The poem, revised numerous times, chronicles the spiritual life of the poet and marks the birth of a new genre of poetry. Although Wordsworth worked on The Prelude throughout his life, the poem was published posthumously."
An essay that explores Wordsworth's "preference for his own company," and how it came to be manifested in the solitary figures chronicled in his poems. A second essay explores the opposition of the Romantic poets (Wordsworth, Coleridge) to Cartesian Dualiasm.

"Most of the characters who appear in Wordsworth's poetry are solitary in some way; there are none who appear to be the sociable type which can be found in the poems of other Romantic poets, such as Byron's Don Juan, and Childe Harolde. The reason for this is perhaps that Wordsworth himself was quite a solitary person; although he appeared to enjoy the company of a select few, for example his beloved sister Dorothy, he seemed to be happiest when he had only Nature for company."
The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth
Reprint of a 1888 anthology, available at
The Cornell Wordsworth Series
Describes a collection of scholarly texts available for purchase from the Cornell University Press, and offers information about the poet's works, with illustrations and photographs of scanned original manuscripts.

"Wordsworth's practice of leaving his poems unpublished for years after their completion and his lifelong habit of revision--Ernest de Selincourt called it 'obsessive'--have obscured the original, often thought the best, versions of his work. These original versions are here presented in the form of clean, continuous 'reading texts' from which all layers of later revision have been stripped away. In volumes that cover the work of Wordsworth's middle and later years, bringing the 'early Wordsworth' into view means simply presenting as 'reading texts,' wherever possible, the earliest finished versions of the poems, not the latest revised versions."
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February 22, 2018
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