Biography On William Wordsworth

Learn about William Wordsworth, known as one of the greatest poets of all time, and the father of romanticism.

April 7, 1770, Lake District, a man was born into the world who would forever leave his imprint upon literary society. William Wordsworth, came to be known as the poet responsible for the birth of romanticism.

Wordsworth had his life enter a state of utter turmoil at a young age, having his mother die when he was only 8 years old. His father, John Wordsworth, soon decided that raising a family consisting of 5 children alone was too great a burden to bear, so sent the 3 male children away to school beginning the year after her death. William also had a sister, but it would be about 3 years after his father's death in 1783 before he would be reunited with her.

While away at school, Wordsworth began to fall in love with the beauty of nature that surrounded him in Hawkshead, and drew little interest from his studies. After his father's death, his uncles had hoped to use what little inheritance there was to put William through school so that he might have a successful career to provide for himself. However, Wordsworth refused to apply himself, and graduated with poor grades in 1791. Despite all this, he discovered the talent that would bring him his current fame: writing.



Wordsworth decided he wanted to travel and teach. So, he made a trip to France, and in the process began to support the French Revolution. Unfortunately he was unable to stay, and was force to return to England. Many of his friends back in London supported their cause as well, and were brave enough to write and publish their views. Unfortunately, they found themselves in trouble with the law for those views. William was fortunate in that he did not publish anything that might put him in jeopardy.

In 1795, he received a sum of 900 pounds from a friend that died of tuberculosis. This cash sum was left to Wordsworth in hopes that he would devote his time to writing, namely poetry. So, he did.

At first, he spent time with a man, Coleridge, and they wrote together, debated their notions on writing, and even tried to co-write together on several occasions. Finally, in 1798, "Lyrical Ballads" was published. Several other versions of this book were published later that attempted to better explain the work, and improve people's outlook on the book.

In 1802, Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson. William and his wife had a child the following year. This would be the first of five children for the couple. In 1805, Wordsworth completed what is considered one of his greatest works, but it was not to be published until 1850. However, in 1806, "Poems, in Two Volumes" was in the process of being published.

Several other poems were published in the following years, but none granted him any success until 1935, when he wrote, "Extempore Effusion of the Death of James Hogg," which is said to be his greatest poem of all.

Later in life, Wordsworth received several great honors which some may find quite surprising due to the fact he didn't write as much as other poets. He was given an honorary Doctorate in Civil Law by Oxford University, and was named Poet Laureate in 1843. When Wordsworth died in 1850, he was considered by many to be one of the greatest poets in the world, and some still feel this way today.

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