William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumberland. William’s father John Wordsworth was a legal agent and attorney who died when William was only 8 years old. William’s mother Ann Cookson Wordsworth remarried in 1783 to William Cookson. William has four siblings: Dorothy, John, Christopher, and Dora. In 1787, William attended Hawkshead Grammar School before going on to St John’s College, Cambridge in 1790.
William became good friends with Samuel Taylor Coleridge while at Cambridge and the two would often go on walking tours together. William graduated from Cambridge in 1791 but instead of beginning a career, he decided to travel throughout Europe with his sister Dorothy. William and Dorothy returned to England in 1795 and William began work on his first major poem, An Evening Walk. William’s first book of poetry, Descriptive Sketches, was published in 1793 but it was not a success.
William Wordsworth is one of the most important English Romantic poets. His poetry is characterized by its use of everyday language, its focus on nature, and its celebration of the individual imagination. William’s most famous poems include “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and “The Daffodils.” William died on April 23, 1850 at the age of 80.
William Wordsworth is widely recognized as one of the most important English romantic poets. During the preface of Lyrical Ballads, published in 1798, Wordsworth stated that poetry should portray language used by men. This concept and several others opposed the old eighteenth-century notion of formal poetry, therefore he altered modern poetry’s course (Wordsworth, William DISCovering). Although born in Cockermouth, England, to John, a prominent aristocrat, and Anne Wordsworth, William drifted away from his family with his mother’s death in 1778.
In 1784, at the age of 12, Wordsworth was sent to boarding school in Hawkeshead. His sister, Dorothy, went to live with relatives in Halifax instead. It was in rural Hawkeshead that William developed his affinity for nature and the outdoors. Once again, however, his life as a whole was marred by the death of his father in 1783. William was transferred from family to family, all of whom regarded him only as a nuisance. Biographers have noted that Wordsworth’s unhappy early years contrast with the Utopian vision of childhood he presents in his works.
William’s Prelude, for example, written in 1805 and revised throughout his life, is an autobiographical account of his intellectual development. In 1787 William entered St John’s College, Cambridge, on a scholarship. There he met Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was to be one of his closest friends and collaborators. The two young men shared an interest in poetry and philosophy, and they both experimented with opium. William graduated from Cambridge in 1791.
The following year William traveled to France with a school friend, Robert Jones. The French Revolution was underway, and William was inspired by the energy and idealism of the time. He also fell in love with a French woman named Annette Vallon, with whom he had a daughter, Caroline. William returned to England in 1792, and the following year he published his first volume of poetry, An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches.
William continued to write poetry, and in 1798 he published Lyrical Ballads, a collection of poems written with Coleridge. The book was not a commercial success, but it did mark the beginning of the English Romantic Movement in literature. William’s most famous poem, “Tintern Abbey,” is included in this collection.
In 1802 William married Mary Hutchinson, a woman from his hometown of Grasmere. The couple had five children together. William’s relationship with his wife was often strained, and his poetry reflects the struggles of their marriage. In 1813 William published The Excursion, a long, philosophical poem about the nature of man and his place in the universe.
William’s health began to fail in 1814, and he became increasingly reclusive. He continued to write poetry, however, and in 1819 he published Peter Bell the Third, a humorous poem about a peasant who aspires to be a gentleman.
The highlight of Wordsworth’s student years at St. John’s College in Cambridge was his walking tour of France and Switzerland with friend Robert Jones (Watson 1421). He graduated in 1791, the third year of the French Revolution, but he quickly supported the Revolution’s aims even though he had shown no prior interest. After Wordsworth was forced to leave France, he became interested in Godwin’s writings; Godwin subsequently became one of Wordsworth’s most important influences (“Wordsworth, William” Compton’s).
William Godwin believed in absolute individual rights, the perfectibility of man, and elimination of government (“Wordsworth, William” Britannica). William Wordsworth was one of the most influential English romantic poets. His poetry was characterized by its simplicity and naturalness, and it dealt with subject matter such as childhood, love, nature, and the everyday lives of common people.
Wordsworth’s early poetry was published in a collection called Lyrical Ballads, which he co-wrote with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This work is generally considered to be the beginning of the English Romantic Movement in literature. William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770, in Cockermouth, Cumberland, England. He was the second of five children born to John and Ann Wordsworth. His father was a lawyer, and his mother was a loving but emotionally distant woman.
William’s childhood was spent in the Lake District of England, and many of his poems would later be based on his memories of this time. William’s mother died when he was eight years old, and his father died five years later. As a result, William and his four siblings were sent to live with different relatives. William went to Hawkshead Grammar School, where he developed a love for poetry and nature.
In 1793, Wordsworth published his first two volumes of poetry, Descriptive Sketches and An Evening Walk. The books were not well received by the public because they were written in the conventional style, but after the death of a kinsman William obtained a modest inheritance that allowed him to devote more time to his work (“Wordsworth, William” Compton’s). William felt he needed a change of environment in order to devote more time to his writing, so he moved in with his sister in Racetown.
It was here that William met Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The two became friends and began working on poetry together. In 1798 they published Lyrical Ballads, a book of poems which contained some of Wordsworth’s most famous works, including “Tintern Abbey” (“Wordsworth, William” Columbia). The book was not very successful when it was first published, but over time it has come to be considered one of the most important books in English literature.
Lyrical Ballads marked a change in the way poetry was written. It was more natural and simple than the poetry that had come before it. This new style of poetry came to be known as Romanticism (“Wordsworth, William” Columbia).
Wordsworth continued to write poetry throughout his life. He published several more volumes of poetry and also wrote a number of prose works. William Wordsworth died in 1850 at the age of 80 (“William Wordsworth” Britannica).