William Wordsworth, (born April 7, 1770, Cockermouth, Cumberland, England—died April 23, 1850, Rydal Mount, Westmorland), was an English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads (1798).
- In 1792 he had a daughter, Caroline, from a French aristocratic woman, Annette Vallon.
- The Reign of Terror and the war between England and France caused him to return to England. He was disappointed by the period of terror.
- He went to live with his sister Dorothy, in close contact with nature, but for a few years he lived in Somerset, near his friend Coleridge, with whom he collaborated in the 1797-1799 period to write Lyrical Ballads.
- He got married with a childhood friend, Mary Hutchinson, and had 5 children.
- In 1843 he became Poet Laureate.
- He became more conservative and went on writing poems until his death in 1850.
- Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems (1798).
- Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems (1800). This edition contains the famous Preface, the Manifesto of English Romanticism.
Man and Nature
- Wordsworth is usually considered “the poet of nature”, but his poems contain very little natural description.
- He was more interested in the relationship between the natural world and human consciousness.
- He thought that man and nature are inseparable and that there are values in nature. It is from nature that man learns joy and love.
- Wordsworth exploited the sensibility of the eye and ear to perceive the beauty of nature.
- Wordsworth was interested in ordinary, everyday world and in the common life of simple, rustic people (which was full of moral values).
- He used simple, everyday language, and was against poetic diction (=sophisticated language)