Biography of William Wordsworth 1770-1850


William Wordsworth (1770–1850) was an English poet who played a pivotal role in the Romantic literary movement. He is best known for his lyrical and nature-inspired poetry, which often celebrates the beauty and tranquility of the natural world. Here’s a brief biography of William Wordsworth:

Early Life:
  • Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770, in Cockermouth, Cumberland, England.
  • He had four siblings, and his father, John Wordsworth, was a lawyer. His mother’s name was Ann Cookson Wordsworth; she died when he was of ripe age.
  • Wordsworth attended Hawkshead Grammar School and later studied at St. John’s College, Cambridge.
Early poetic influences:
  • During his time at Cambridge, Wordsworth was introduced to revolutionary ideals and was initially influenced by the French Revolution, which greatly impacted his political and social views.
Lyrical Ballads:
  • He published “Lyrical Ballads” in 1798 in collaboration with S.T.Coleridge. This collection is considered one of the most significant works in English literature, marking the beginning of the Romantic movement.
  • The “Preface” to “Lyrical Ballads” contains Wordsworth’s famous definition of poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” and emphasizes the importance of ordinary language in poetry.
Dove Cottage and the Lake District:
  • Wordsworth lived in Dove Cottage in Grasmere, in the Lake District of England, from 1799 to 1808, during which he wrote some of his most famous poetry.
  • The natural beauty of the Lake District served as a profound inspiration for his works.

Major Works:

  • Some of his most notable poems include “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (also known as “Daffodils”), “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey,” and “Ode to Duty.”
  • His poetry often celebrated the simplicity and beauty of everyday life, nature, and the human spirit.
  • Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems (1798)
    • “Simon Lee”
    • “We are Seven”
    • “Lines Written in Early Spring”
    • “Expostulation and Reply”
    • “The Tables Turned”
    • “The Thorn”
    • “Lines Composed A Few Miles above Tintern Abbey”
  • Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems (1800)
  • Preface to the Lyrical Ballads“Strange fits of passion have I known”
    • “She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways”
    • “Three years she grew”
    • “A Slumber Did my Spirit Seal”
    • “I travelled among unknown men”
    • “Lucy Gray”
    • “The Two April Mornings”
    • “The Solitary Reaper”
    • “Nutting”
    • “The Ruined Cottage”
    • “Michael”
    • “The Kitten at Play”
Poems in Two Volumes (1807)
  • “Resolution and Independence”
    • “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” Also known as “Daffodils”
    • “My Heart Leaps Up”
    • “Ode: Intimations of Immortality”
    • “Ode to Duty”
    • “The Solitary Reaper”
    • “Elegiac Stanzas”
    • “Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802”
    • “London, 1802”
    • “The World Is Too Much with Us”
  • “French Revolution” (1810)
  • Guide to the Lakes (1810)
  • “To the Cuckoo”
  • The Excursion (1814)
  • Laodamia (1815, 1845)
  • The White Doe of Rylstone (1815)
  • Peter Bell (1819)
  • Ecclesiastical Sonnets (1822)
  • The Prelude (1850)
  • “Lines Composed A Few Miles above Tintern Abbey”
Later Life:
  • In 1813, Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson, and they had five children.
  • He had worked on various government positions. He had served as the Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland.
  • Wordsworth’s political views evolved, and he became more conservative over time.
  • William Wordsworth is often regarded as one of the most important figures in English Romantic poetry.
  • His emphasis on the beauty and moral lessons of nature, along with his exploration of the inner workings of the human mind and emotions, have had a lasting impact on the development of modern poetry.

William Wordsworth’s contributions to poetry and his influence on subsequent generations of poets are widely recognized, and his work continues to be celebrated and studied for its profound connection to nature and the human experience.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. When and where was William Wordsworth born?
  2. What famous collaborative work did Wordsworth create with Samuel Taylor Coleridge?
  3. How does Wordsworth define poetry in the preface to “Lyrical Ballads”?
  4. Where did Wordsworth live and write much of his famous poetry?
  5. Name one of Wordsworth’s well-known poems that celebrates the beauty of nature.
  6. How did Wordsworth’s political views change over time?
  7. What is the enduring impact of Wordsworth’s contributions to poetry?

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