Wordsworth, born in his beloved Lake District, was the son of an
attorney. He went to school first at Penrith and then at Hawkshead Grammar
school before studying, from 1787, at St John's College. In 1790 he went with
friends on a walking tour to France, the Alps and Italy, before arriving in
France where Wordsworth was to spend the next year.
While in France he
fell in love twice over: once with a young French woman, Annette Vallon, who
subsequently bore him a daughter, and then, once more, with the French
Revolution. The brutal developments of 757e44h the revolution and the war between
England and France brought him to the edge of a nervous breakdown.
In 1795, after
receiving a legacy, Wordsworth lived with his sister Dorothy first in Dorset and
then at Alfoxden, Dorset, close to Coleridge.
In these years he
wrote many of his greatest poems and also travelled with Coleridge and Dorothy,
in the winter of 1798-79, to Germany. Two years later the friendship with
Taylor Coleridge proved crucial to the development of English Romantic poetry:
the second and enlarged edition of the Lyrical Ballads appeared in 1801, which
was to become the Manifesto of English Romanticism. Just one year before
Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson. The Prelude, his long autobiographical poem, was completed
in 1805, though it was not published until after his death.
In 1842 Wordsworth was given a civil list
pension, and the following year, having long since put aside radical
sympathies, he was named poet laureate.
However, he continued to write poems until his
death, in 1850, at the age of eighty.
The Manifesto of English
Wordsworth belonged to the first generation of
Romantic poets who were characterised by the attempt to theorise about poetry.
Wordsworth didn't want to write following the
standards of 18th century poetry. His stronger objection to it was
its artificial, elevated language, which he called "poetic diction". In his
Preface he established what the subject matter and the language of poetry
Poetry should deal with everyday situations and
with ordinary people. Even the language should be simple.
The reason is that in this way the poet was
more direct, nearer to his passions.
Therefore the poet is a man among men, writing
about what interests mankind.
Man and natural world
In his poetry
Wordsworth speaks about the relationship between the world and human
consciousness. He says that the nature influences his emotions and sensations,
than man couldn't exists without nature, but as an active participant in it, so
that "nature" to Wordsworth means something that includes both inanimate
and human nature, each is a part of the same whole. Indeed one of the most
consistent concepts in Wordsworth is the idea that man and nature are connected.
The importance of the senses and of memory
Nature can influence
also our perceptions. In fact Wordsworth says that we perceive the power of
nature with our sense. [wordsworth exploited above all the sensibility of
the eye and ear through which he could perceive both the "beauteos forms" of
nature and the sounds of the winds or waters, or the silence of secluded
places]. He was influenced by David Hartley in his belief that there
are three stages of the development of human mind that are the stages of man:
childhood, youth and adulthood. He established that the childhood was a result
of the pleasure and pain caused by our physical experiences. Childhood is the
most important stage because when we are young we see the nature and live in
it, so we remember its in future.
So the memory is
important in growth of man, and it is memory that allows Wordsworth to give
poetry its life and power.
Recollection in tranquillity
All genuine poetry "takes its origin from emotion recollected in
tranquillity" so that we read in the poem results from the active, vital
relationship of present to past experience. Through the re-creative power of
memory, the emotion is reproduced and purified in poetic form so that a second
emotion, "kindred" to the first one, is generated.
Recollection In Tranquillity>"Kindred" Emotion> Poem>
The poet's task and his style
The poet has greater sensibility and the
ability to penetrate the heart of things. So the poet become a teacher in fact
teaches men how to understand his feelings and how find his emotions and
truths. W. use a blank verse, a simple form and rhymes with short lines. He
writes above all sonnet, odes, ballads and lyrics.