William Wordsworth: a Man of Men

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Lindsay Cameron
Professor Suzanne Stewart
English 370: 00
October 7, 2011
“A Man of Men”: William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth is widely considered one of the most influential English romantic poets. In the preface of his book, Lyrical Ballads, published in 1798, Wordsworth declared that poetry should contain language really used by men. This idea, and many of his others, challenged the old eighteenth-century idea of formal poetry and, therefore, he changed the course of modern poetry (Damrosch, 397). Wordsworth was born of Cockermouth, West Cumberland in England, to John, a prominent aristocrat, and Anne Wordsworth. Following his mother's death in 1778, William and his family began to drift apart, aside from the relationship with his sister Dorothy. William was sent to boarding school in Hawkeshead, and his sister, Dorothy, was sent to live with cousins in Halifax. It was in the rural surroundings of Hawkeshead that William learned his appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Unfortunately, once again, the peacefulness of his life was disturbed by his father's death in 1783. William was sent from relative to relative, all of who thought of him only as a burden (Abrams, 1367). Wordsworth went to college at St. John's College in Cambridge and later wrote that the highlight of those years was the walking tour of France and Switzerland taken with his friend, Robert Jones, which he took during his summer vacation of his third year (Abrams, 1368). He graduated in 1791 when the French revolution was in its third year, but, even though he had showed no prior interest, he quickly supported the Revolution's goals (1368). Moreover, during this time Wordsworth had a love affair with a woman named Annette Vallon, whom would eventually give birth to his first daughter, Caroline. Sadly, due to a lack of funds, Wordsworth was forced to leave France, and although he intended to return and marry Annette, the onset of war between England and...
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