The Life of William Wordsworth: A Critical Biography (Wiley Blackwell Critical Biographies)

By John Worthen

By studying the relatives and fiscal situations of Wordsworth’s early years, this illuminating biography reshapes our figuring out of the nice Romantic poet’s so much inventive interval of existence and writing.


  • Features new learn into Wordsworth’s monetary scenario, and into how the poet and his relations survived financially
  • Offers a brand new realizing of the position of his nice unwritten poem ‘The Recluse’
  • Presents a brand new review of the connection among Wordsworth and Coleridge

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One anecdote files Wordsworth “being furiously assailed via a way more robust lad than himself ” yet his being helped out within the struggle now not through a pal yet by means of his more youthful brother John, who “with affectionate gallantry, planting himself by means of the facet of his brother, fought with such spirit, that the aggressor was once obliged to desist. ”41 a chum we all know anything approximately was once a so much unsportive (because handicapped) boy named Philip Braithwaite, one other lodger on the Tysons for a short while, yet much older than Wordsworth. In outdated age, Braithwaite fairly sourly recalled the Wordsworths he had recognized in class, and allow it's identified that he inspiration “John . . . the nicest of the 3. ”42 Richard, early and past due, seemed standoffish, whereas Wordsworth – fascinatingly – requested too many keen questions ever to be “nice. ” nonetheless, prior to the beginning of faculty in summer season Wordsworth might stroll round Esthwaite Water together with his “dearest friend,” John Fleming (1768–1835), “Repeating favourite verses with one voice”; many of the verses being from The Seasons. forty three Fleming was once older than Wordsworth, going as much as Cambridge in 1785; 3 years later, in “The Vale of Esthwaite,” Wordsworth known as the friendship a “holy flame” – “Friendship and Fleming are a similar” (EPF 454:397) – and in 1804 may describe Fleming as “passionately lov’d” (1805 ii. 353). His emotions appear to have been the overwhelm of a smart younger boy on one that used to be years older, and weren't easily conventions of the type of poetry he used to be writing within the 1780s. Wordsworth additionally knew John Fleming’s more youthful brothers Fletcher and William Raincock, either one of whom went to Cambridge, as did William Rudd of Cockermouth – although Rudd was once a 12 months more youthful than Wordsworth. forty four The Raincocks additionally walked the rustic at evening, and have been ringleaders in a crusade opposed to the school’s writing grasp Joseph Varty – infamous for beating boys over the pinnacle with “his heavy ebony ruler” – simply because Varty had assisted in an try to arrest one of many Castlehow family members, the rescuers of John Benson. the men determined to put in writing verses approximately Varty and to recite them in his listening to; Fletcher Raincock recalled how “Here invoice Wordsworth used to be best between them, he being greater at verse-making than any of the remainder. ”45 An anecdote finally deriving from Wordsworth approximately “one of his very prosaic schoolfellows at Hawkshead” confirms this acceptance: sooner or later after he received a few credits from his grasp for a few English verses – an even bigger boy took him via the arm and led him off into the fields, & while he had bought him particularly aside, gravely acknowledged to him “I say, invoice, whilst thoo writes verse dost thoo invoke t’Muse? ”46 We don’t know the way he responded. 27 Hawkshead and Esthwaite One the reason is, Wordsworth’s brothers won't have gotten into his memories of his school-time may well easily were simply because they have been so almost about him that he took them with no consideration; it used to be the hot buddy, like Fleming, who bought singled out. We don’t recognize which of the Wordsworth teenagers first used the be aware “set” to explain them, yet Wordsworth hired it in 1805 within the feel of a whole run of a periodical e-book, or a suite of volumes through one writer.

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