The Life of William Wordsworth: A Critical Biography (Wiley Blackwell Critical Biographies)

The Life of William Wordsworth: A Critical Biography (Wiley Blackwell Critical Biographies)

John Worthen

Language: English

Pages: 500

ISBN: 0470655445

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

By examining the family and financial circumstances of Wordsworth’s early years, this illuminating biography reshapes our understanding of the great Romantic poet’s most creative period of life and writing.


  • Features new research into Wordsworth’s financial situation, and into how the poet and his family survived financially
  • Offers a new understanding of the role of his great unwritten poem ‘The Recluse’
  • Presents a new assessment of the relationship between Wordsworth and Coleridge

Hamlet (The Pelican Shakespeare)

Poems and Ballads and Atalanta in Calydon

The Taming of the Shrew (HarperPerennial Classics)

The Two Gentlemen of Verona (HarperPerennial Classics)

English Mystery Plays (Penguin Classics)












late as 1841 would advise people planning a continental journey to go “to Lake Como, which see perfectly.”13 What happened to him and Jones at the northern end of the lake reveals how they traveled. During the very hot weather, they got up as early in the morning as possible and covered “12 or 15 miles before breakfast,” Jones recalled, “and after feasting on the morning Landscape how we afterwards feasted on our Dejeuner of whatever the house might afford!”14 When they heard the church clock

of the world.43 He may 105 Salisbury Plain and its Consequences have gone on working on revisions to Descriptive Sketches, but there is no writing that we can certainly ascribe to the next few months; he told Mathews that “the muse is not to be won but by the sacrifice of time, and time I have not to spare.” He could not even read aloud much: “I am so much with my sick friend, and he cannot bear the fatigue of being read to.” “I begin to wish much to be in town,” he confessed; he found

on her knees did Goody pray, Young Harry heard what she had said, And icy-cold he turned away. (LB 61:97–62:104) We know very little about the sequence of Wordsworth’s writing this spring, but for once his productivity was not in question. These ballad-like poems, mostly in fourand eight-line stanzas, many of them about encounters with ordinary people, seem to have unlocked something in him. It would not be the last time that – having 158 1798 started to write a particular kind of poem – he

person, “6d of which is to be paid to the Captain for small beer, which . . . passengers are to be informed of their being entitled to.”2 Coleridge found himself in his element, talking and – at one point – dancing on deck with the other passengers (the small beer having its effect). Chester, Wordsworth, and Dorothy all stayed below, basins containing what Coleridge cheerfully called “green and yellow specimens of the inner Man” being brought up every few minutes.3 It was forty-eight hours before

business. The smells which are everywhere met with in consequence of this practice are horrible.6 This was something they never really got over in Hamburg. Coleridge had lost no time in using his letters of introduction. One went to Remnant’s bookshop, establishing a credit there of £30; another two went to the Wedgwoods’ agents in Hamburg, a Herr von Axen and Ralph Chatterley. The latter invited Coleridge and the whole party back for an appointment with his business partner, the merchant Victor

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