Saturday, April 07, 2007

Author Birthdays

April 7

William Wordsworth

Poet, born in Cockermouth, Cumbria, NW England, UK. Educated at Hawkshead in the Lake District and at Cambridge, he went on a walking tour through France and Switzerland (1790). Back in France in 1790, he witnessed the French Revolution, developing republican sentiments, and had an affair with a French girl, Annette Vallon, by whom he had a daughter. He returned to England at the outbreak of the war (1793), and after an unsettled period set up house at Racedown, Dorset, with his devoted sister, Dorothy. There he discovered his true vocation, that of the poet exploring the lives of humble folk living in close contact with nature. After moving to Alfoxden, Somerset (1797), he wrote with Coleridge the Lyrical Ballads (1798), the first manifesto of the new Romantic poetry, which opened with Coleridge's ‘Ancient Mariner’ and concluded with Wordsworth's ‘Tintern Abbey’. After a year in Germany, he moved to Dove Cottage, Grasmere with Dorothy, married Mary Hutchinson in 1802, and wrote much of his best work, including his poetic autobiography, The Prelude (1805, published posthumously in 1850), and two books of poems (1807). Critics are inclined to mark the decline of his powers after this remarkable outpouring. He succeeded Southey as poet laureate in 1843.

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