William Wordsworth was born in the Lake District in 1770.
In 1779 he began grammar school and in 1787 went to St. John's College, Cambridge.
In 1790 he wen on a walking tour of France, the Alps and Italy. Enthusiastic about ideas of democracy, he became a supporter of the French revolution.
After returning to England alone he reunited with his sister Dorothy.
In 1795, in London, he met the philosopher Godwin and the poet Coleridge. The two poets had similar ideas on both love and poetry. By this time Wordsworth became completely disillusioned with the revolution, wich had turned into a Terror. He later compared it in the prelude to a monstrous child who refused to grow up.
In 1802 he married Mary Hutchinson with whom he had five children.
He was made Poet Laureate in 1843 and died in 1850.
in 1798 Wordsworth and Coleridge published anonymously the “Lyrical Ballads”. In 1800 the second edition contained the “preface”.
The Lyrical Ballads
Wordsworth's object was to give the charm of novelty to things of every day, while Coleridge's was to direct himself to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic in order to provoke a suspension of disbelief.
The “preface” to “The Lyrical Ballads” can be considered a manifesto to Wordsworth's work. Poetry according to him must be concerned with the ordinary, everyday world and the influence of memory on the present: the recollection of emotions and feelings.
The poet has a greater sensibility than ordinary man thanks to his power of immagination he can communicate his feelings and help people get in touch with their interior world. The kind of language used by the poet must reflect simplicity; it has to be simular the the simple language of men.
I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud
This poem is connected to the poet's personal experience, describing a time when he saw a field full of Daffodils waving in the wind. In comparing himself to a cloud, Wordsworth removes himself from the ground, and so from terrestrial vision, including a sense of lightness. The position of the cloud allows for an inversion of perspective. The daffodils became a “host”, resembling a cluster of stars in an inverted cosmos where the ground has become infinity of space.
Often Wordsworth's descriptions of nature are idealizing, a result of his search of harmony between man and his environment. He sometimes though catches a glimpse of sublime chaos, as in his initial vision of the daffodils.
Central to Wordsworth vision of nature is the importance of its influence on the human mind and the mind of the poet in particular. Wordsworth poetry describes the world of nature as it is exists outside, but is particularly concerned with the inside effect that it has on him.
The poet celebrates the idea of fusion between man and his natural element. He is nostalgic for an idyllic natural landscape which is fast disappearing.