Wordsworth, William - Life & Poetry
William Wordsworth was born in April 7 1770 in Cumberland (now called Cumbria), in the English Lake District, where he spent his childhood and most of his adult life.
He was educated at St John’s College, Cambridge, and in 1790, he undertook a walking tour of France and the Alps.
During his permanence in France, Wordsworth was broadly influenced by the French ideals and here he fell in love with Annette Vallon who bore him a daughter, Caroline.
The unsuccessful development of the French Revolution and the war between England and France brought him to the edge of a nervous breakdown.
The disillusionment of these years was recovered by his contact with nature, which he rediscovered in Dorset, where he went to live with his sister Dorothy, who remained his faithful friend, in 1795.
In the same year, he moved to Somerset to be near to Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Their friendship proved crucial to the development of the English Romantic poetry:
they produced a collection of poems called “Lyrical Ballads” which appeared anonymously in 1798.
The second edition of 1800 also contained Wordsworth’s famous Preface, which was to become the Manifesto of English Romanticism.
In 1799, William and Dorothy settled in the Lake District, and in 1802, he married a childhood friend, Mary Hutchinson, who bore him five children.
In 1805 he finished his masterpiece, The Prelude, a long autobiographical poem in 14 books, subtitled Growth of a Poet’s Mind, which was published only after his death.
In 1843, he was named Poet Laureate.
In the last years of his life, he continued to write poems.
He died in 1850, at the age of eighty.
Wordsworth belongs to the second romantic generation of poets, in fact, he is considered a Lake Poet because, he decided to live in Lake District, for living in touch with nature.
We can also define him a teacher according to his own concept of poet, that is, a man speaking to men, who is endowed with a great sensibility and with a great knowledge of human nature, and who has a comprehensive soul, so the poet is able to teach to men how improve their life, living in touch with nature.
According to the poet, poetry is a spontaneous overflow of emotions, recollected in tranquillity, that is, far from the scene that causes the emotions.
The poet used poetry as a mean to teach to men.
According to him, the imagination is a faculty that lets man to see beyond the reality, so a faculty that lets man to see the ordinary things in an unusual way.
Wordsworth wanted to teach to men how improve their life, living in touch with nature.
According to Wordsworth nature gains a key role, because he was interested in the relationship between the natural world and the human consciousness, in fact, Wordsworth thought that man and nature are inseparable, man doesn’t exist outside the natural world but as an active participant in it.
In few words, nature is something whose gives comfort to men in sorrow, and it is a source of pleasure and joy.
Nature is the seat of the spirit of the universe.