William Wordsworth: French Revolution & Romanticism

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William Wordsworth: French Revolution & Romanticism William Wordsworth was born 7 April 1770 in Cockermouth, England, a village in the northwest county of Cumberland. He was the second of five children born to John and Ann Cookson Wordsworth. In 1791, when he finished the university in Cambridge he traveled to France, which was then in the throes of the French Revolution. Until the Revolution, France had been ruled by a monarchy with absolute power. Wordsworth was fascinated by the Republicans, the faction that sought to establish a government headed by a leader of the people's choosing. For an idealistic young European, France was THE place to be. In his long autobiographical poem The Prelude, Wordsworth wrote about that time: "For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood Upon our side, us who were strong in love! Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very Heaven! O times, In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways Of custom, law, and statute, took at once The attraction of a country in romance!" Wordsworth fell in love with a Frenchwoman named Annette Vallon. The two were serious about each other, but by 1792 Wordsworth ran out of money and returned to England, leaving behind a pregnant Vallon and their unborn baby. When war broke out in France, he was unable to go back to his family. It would be a decade before Wordsworth met his daughter Caroline, though he eventually arranged for her financial support. Inspired by his experience in France, Wordsworth began to work on a series of poems. The results, two collections of poetry entitled Descriptive Sketches and An Evening Walk, were published in 1793. Back in Cambridge, England, a man named Samuel Taylor Coleridge finished reading Descriptive Sketches and decreed that "Wordsworth was one of the most original poetic genius above the literary horizon more evidently
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