Life of William Wordsworth

Topics: William Wordsworth, Romanticism, Samuel Taylor Coleridge Pages: 5 (1761 words) Published: June 18, 2013
Toni Partin
Dr. Cheryl Powell
ENC 1101- 70082
[ 28 July 2010 ]
Research Paper - rough draft

The Life of William WordsWorth
William Wordsworth is considered one of the greatest poets during the English Romantic Period. He is also considered, only next to Shakespeare, one of the greatest sonneteers. There are some historians that even believe that William Wordsworth, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped launch the Romantic Period. This statement has been debated between historians, but one thing that they do agree on is, William Wordsworth shaped the literary era. The Romantic Period was a time that allowed artistic freedom. The early 60's is the closest period of time that can be related to this time in history. The creativity and experimentation of artists, poets, and ordinary people was beginning to bloom. That was a period of great change. The Classical Period was more controlling. There were strict laws of the Classical Period slowly began to change as Romanticism moved away from such control. The Romantic Period was also a movement of literary and intellectual thinking. Romanticism emphasized on imagination, freedom of feelings, and was mostly connected within the visual arts, music, and literature. Imagination was more important than logic. This period is mostly associated with the arts and poets like William Wordsworth. William Wordsworth, the most significant poet of the English Romantic Period, was greatly influenced as a writer by his childhood, love of nature, and his many relationships.

According to Judith W. Page, William Wordsworth was the " central poet of his age" (Gale 1). William Wordsworth's poetry was drawn from his amazing memory, and was mostly based on Nature, people he watched, and personal experiences. Leslie Brisman said of Wordsworth, "To call William Wordsworth a "Memory Poet" is to note how he substitutes personal memories for other assurances of continuity, natural or divine." (276-277). Because each encounter partly transmits and partly reformulates a myth of origins, William Wordsworth's work seems easy to read, when in fact, he may be the most difficult of the English Poets (278). Many of his poems were based on his own life and his interpretation of it. The memories and encounters that William Wordsworth drew from, started when he was just a small boy.

William Wordsworth was born at Cockermouth, Cumberland on April 7, 1770. He was the second of five children. His father was an attorney which allowed them to live a generous life style. At home is where he learned to appreciate poetry. It was his father that gave him the gift of memory, by requiring Wordsworth to memorize poems or parts of poems, it help developed his powerful memory. Relying on his memory became the very basis of his art (Anderson 9). Growing up in the Lake District is where Wordsworth gained his early appreciation for the beauty of nature. The river that he would play in at the age of five, also had influenced his writing (Gale 2). He loved the countryside and the freedom he had to roam for long periods of time. During this time, his imagination began to bloom. Although he enjoyed periods of solitude, he was adventurous, imaginative, and strong-minded (Aubrey 2). To all accounts, he had the perfect childhood till his mother passed away in March of 1778. He and his brothers were sent to a school at Hawkshead and his sister, Dorothy, was sent to live at Halifax. During his time at school, he only returned home for the holidays. He was well educated and prospered. When his father passed away he and his brothers spent the holidays with family who would patronized them and made them feel dependent (Watson 1577-1578). It was back at school at Hawkshead where he was cared for and his direction for poetry is nurtured by William Taylor, the Headmaster at Hawkshead Grammar School. The classes at Hawkshead were well ahead of other school and were unusual for that time (Purkis...

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Aubrey, Bryan. "William Wordsworth." Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century (1999): 1-7. Literary Reference Center plus. Web. 14 Jul 2010.
Brisman, Leslie. Romantic Origins. Ithaca: Cornell University, 1978. Print.
Drabble, Margaret. "Wordsworth, William." The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford U P, 1985. 1084-1086. Print
Gale, Thomson, ed. "William Wordsworth." Authors and Artists for Young Adults 70 (2010): 1- 18. Biography Resources Center. Web. 14 Jul 2010.
George, Andrew J, ed. The complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth: Cambridge Edition. Cambridge: Houghton Mifflin, 1932. Print.
Hartman, Geoffrey H. "Wordsworth: The Romance of Nature and the Negative Way." English Romantic Poets. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. 83-122. Print.
Lee, Michelle, ed. Poetry Criticism. Vol. 67. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 245-374. Print.
Purkis, John. A Preface to Wordsworth. Ed Maurice Hussey. New York: Scribner, 1970. Print.
Watson, F.R. "William Wordsworth." Poets American and British. Ed. George Stade, Leonard Unger, and A. Walton Litz. Vol. 3. New York: Scriber, 1988. Print.
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