On the day of April 7th 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumberland of England, William Wordsworth was born. He grew up to become one of the most famous Romantic poets who helped launch the Romantic Age in English literature. The glorious landscape of England deeply affected Wordsworth’s imagination and gave him a love of nature. Wordsworth made his debut as a writer in 1787 when he published a sonnet in a magazine. After graduating from Saint John’s College in Cambridge, Wordsworth met Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1795. Wordsworth was extremely influenced by Coleridge. With the encouragement from Coleridge and Wordsworth’s stimulation by the close contact with nature, Wordsworth composed his first masterwork, Lyrical Ballads. From there Wordsworth wrote many poems in depth about nature. Many critical authors will argue on the topic of whether or not Wordsworth was actually influenced by nature or if his obsession with nature distracted him. Geoffrey Hartman one of the most famous critics of Wordsworth’s works stated “Nature, for Wordsworth is not an “object” but a presence and a power; a motion and a spirit; not something to be worshiped and consumed, but always a guide leading beyond itself” (Bloom 40). Hartman believed that Wordsworth was influenced and guided by nature. Hartman describes in his critical essay The Negative Way how Wordsworth gets distracted by his imagination but quickly returns back to the adherence of nature. This distraction occurs in book six of The Prelude when Wordsworth is crossing the Alps. He had imagined that the view would be unbelievable and awe-inspiring, but when he crossed he had missed the view. “Hard of belief, we question him again, / and all the answers which the Man returned / to our inquires, in their sense and substance, / Translated by the feelings which we had, / Ended in this; that we had crossed the Alps.” (Wordsworth 463). Wordsworth then discovered that the “external
Cited: Drabble, Margaret. Wordsworth. New York: Arco, 1969. Print. Durrant, Geoffrey. William Wordsworth. London: Cambridge U.P., 1969. Print. Hilles, Frederick W., Frederick Albert Pottle, and Harold Bloom. From Sensibility to Romanticism; Essays Presented to Frederick A. Pottle. New York: Oxford UP, 1965. Print. Wordsworth, William, Jonathan Wordsworth, Meyer Howard Abrams, and Stephen Gill. The Prelude 1799, 1805, 1850: Authoritative Texts, Context and Reception, Recent Critical Essays. New York: Norton, 1979. Print. Wordsworth, William, and Stephen Gill. William Wordsworth: the Major Works. Oxford: Oxford Univ., 2000. Print.