Author(s): Stephen Gill
At the age of twenty-eight, William Wordsworth had neither a settled income nor the professional qualifications needed to secure one. He had no home, and he could not support the illegitimate child he had fathered during an impetuous love affair in France. The total sum of his achievements since he had left Cambridge consisted of one slim, anonymously issued volume of Lyrical Ballads. Recognition came slowly, but by age seventy, he was revered as a cultural icon, the Poet Laureate of England, and the most celebrated native of the Lake Country. Based on an intimate knowledge of the poet's manuscripts, on a fresh assessment of contemporary records, and a careful analysis of a wealth of new research, this vividly written volume presents the first serious biography of Wordsworth to appear in over twenty-five years. Stephen Gill, a leading authority on Wordsworth, reveals that, in many ways, this giant of English literature led a heroic life. Despite critical condemnation, numbing blows from the death of friends and family, including three of his own children, and his inability to earn a living as a writer in his early years, his dedication to his art did not waver. Moreover, Gill corrects the image of the older Wordsworth as a stodgy betrayer of his radical youth. While his politics certainly did change, and his poetic power waned from 1799 almost to his death in 1850, Wordsworth single-mindedly shaped his own life in submission to a power of imagination whose importance he never doubted. Offering unparalleled insight into Wordsworth's poetic achievement, Gill illuminates what was most essential to Wordsworth himself: his life as a writer.
Library markings, tapemarks to boards and endpapers, no dustjacket