Type: Review
Pages: 4 | Words: 952
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William Wordsworth, born on April 7, 1770 in Cookermouth, Cumberland, England made a name as one of the early leading figures in Romanticism in English poetry and is even ranked as one of the greatest English lyric poets.

In Stephen Gill’s Biography of Wordsworth entitled “William Wordsworth: A Life” in 1989, Gill emphasized Wordsworth’s happy childhood, which was unlike most of the other literary figures in the English Romanticism literature whose unhappy childhood memories became their main inspirations in their writings. Well-educated and had the liberty to wander and travel, Wordsworth grew a real appreciation and passion for nature, and even for social issues that beset society during his time, especially with the French Revolution which strengthened his advocacy towards common people and in his belief in political freedom (ibid.). According to Gill (1989), this resulted to Wordsworth’s “Lyrical Ballads” in 1798 which featured poems that revolved around simply but deep feelings that ordinary people have, and even phrased in their own ordinary language.

Davies (1980) cited Wordsworth’s guilt and sadness over his inevitable separation from his French girlfriend Annette Vallon and their daughter as the main inspiration for his eventual works around the theme of abandoned women, which rather gave strong impact on readers and critiques alike.

Wordsworth’s works and poetry reflected his life events and even his changes in beliefs and philosophy about life, about love, about politics and about everything in life. His works became the indicators of his state of life, and which became the basis for various biographers to analyze his poetry vis-à-vis the poet’s life.

A significant literary figure, William Wordsworth received the recognition as poet laureate in 1843, about seven (7) years before his death on April 23, 1850.         


Kenneth R. Johnston (1998), in his analysis of Wordsworth’s works in “The Hidden Wordsworth: Poet, Lover, Rebel, Spy”, mentions that the themes around which Wordsworth’s poetry including the language and imagery used in embodying those themes have been consistent with the poet’s philosophy that poetry must not be too complicated and therefore must use the people’s natural language.

Citing as an example Wordsworth’s “Lyrical Ballads” written in 1802, Johnston (1998) takes note of the poet’s usage of plain and simple words that are used in common speech, without the lofty and elaborate dictions that most poets use. All throughout his works, Wordsworth has maintained his plain-spoken style, making his works easy to understand even by the generations of today, despite the fact that the rhythms and idioms of common English language have gone through changes throughout the generations.

Johnston (1998) further analyzes Wordsworth’s other works, especially noting his masterpieces “Tintern Abbey” and the ode “Intimations of Immortality”, which Johnston writes as dealing with the interesting subjects about childhood: the memory of childhood as remembered by an adult; and a child’s lost connection with nature as preserved only in memory. These, according to Johnston, are linked with the poet’s commonly used images and metaphors which are composed mainly of natural sceneries mixed with religious symbolism as well as the bits and pieces of the poet’s childhood memories – of cottages, of orchards, of hedgerows, and of various places that represent humanity’s gentle interaction with nature. As an example, Johnston cites this line from Wordsworth’s sonnet: “It is a beauteous evening, calm and free… quiet as a nun”.

In conclusion, Johnston states that Wordsworth’s poems contributed greatly to the English literature by giving emphasis to feeling, instinct, and pleasure beyond formality and mannerism, making human emotions accessible and comprehensible.

On the other hand, Rosanna Negrotta (1999), in her critical analysis of Wordworth’s work “Tintern Abbey”, states that said poem significantly shows the poet’s tender feelings for and intense faith in nature. In this poem, Wordsworth also expresses his faith in God as he realizes and delights in the beauty and grandness that is nature.

Negrotta emphasizes that the poem speaks of the passage of time, which, according to Negrotta, is symbolic Wordsworth’s realistic perspective of life – that however everything is beautiful, it will all come to pass and therefore should be appreciated while still here. In Negrotta’s analysis, “Tintern Abbey” shows Wordsworth delighting in the gradeur of nature with open eyes coupled with imaginative mind, his being a lover of nature unhidden and can be felt in every line. In the poem, Wordsworth highlights Sylvan Wye as the majestic river that is worth seeing; he recalls of his past visits in the place and looks forward to more frequent visits to the same place in the future; he relishes every little nooks and crannies of the river, mountains and lovely streams which he kept as beautiful memories in his heart and mind. In the end, however, his passion meets reality as he realizes in the poem that his memory of the lovely place is no longer reflected in his second visit, as he notices that humanity has done something to spoil the loveliness that is the place.

Towards the end of the poem, Wordsworth continues to meditate on the present versus his memories, and finally mentions his younger sister named Dorothy, whom he addresses with his learnings and insights, assuring her that he does understand her youth and wishing her a meaningful future. He claims that her youth reminds him of his own and her voice reminds him of his young voice. His love for Dorothy overwhelms him that he pours his insights about nature, about life and about love to her, saying that nature has thankfully not betrayed his heart which is the main reason for their joyful and contented life together.

A nature lover, Wordsworth, according to Negrotta, gives nature all the credit for his fulfillment and happiness, and wishes his loved ones get the same favor from nature.

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