Welcome to the Wordsworth and Romanticism Blog. Here you will find lively and engaging explorations of the literature, history and culture of the Romantic period (1750 to 1850) from a variety of contributors. Illuminating and thought-provoking, they offer fresh perspectives on a period in our cultural history that continues to fascinate and inspire.

Michael McGregor  – The Robert Woof Director of The Wordsworth Trust

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Ferns in Dove Cottage gardenFerns in Dove Cottage garden

'An eminently beautiful Object is Fern': The Romantics and the Victorian Fern Craze

By Sarah Whittingham

Of all the many passions and crazes in nineteenth-century gardening and natural history, none was as long lasting or as wide reaching as fern fever, when the plant held a popular fascination for much of society.

But this enthralment with the frond came out of nowhere; before the 1830s there was virtually […]

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Dorothy Wordsworth
John Clare
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
William Wordsworth
Wordsworth and Romanticism

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Detail from the 'Nine Living Muses of Great Britain' (1799). Barbauld is raising her hand.Detail from the 'Nine Living Muses of Great Britain' (1799). Barbauld is raising her hand.

A forgotten female Romantic poet?: Introducing Anna Laetitia Barbauld

by Mara Barbuni

Anna Laetitia Barbauld (née Aikin) poet, essayist, abolitionist, literary critic, teacher and educationist, lived an age of extraordinary transformations in the English political, social, technological and artistic fields. Her lifetime, spanning from 1743 to 1825, witnessed three reigns (George II, III and IV), several wars (Seven Years, American Independence, Napoleonic Wars), the […]

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Wordsworth and Romanticism

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The Townley Vase, 2nd century AD, © Trustees of the British MuseumThe Townley Vase, 2nd century AD, © Trustees of the British Museum

Romantic readings: 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' by John Keats

by Lynn Roberts

Humans want to know things. They’re as full of ’satiable curtiosity as the Elephant’s Child, and when anything interests them they want to find out all about it – especially if finding out is almost impossible. They want to know exactly who Shakespeare was, and what he thought, and what he had […]

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John Keats
Wordsworth and Romanticism

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The Vampyre FamilyThe Vampyre Family

Book review: The Vampyre Family: Passion, Envy and The Curse of Byron by Andrew McConnell Stott

By Pam Norfolk The famous meeting of literary minds at the Villa Diodati in the stormy summer of 1816 has always read like the Gothic novel it spawned.

This iconic juncture in the lives of troubled poets Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, along with Shelley’s lover Mary Godwin, gave birth to a series of […]

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Book reviews
Lord Byron
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Wordsworth and Romanticism

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Lyrical Ballads

A new species of poetry: The making of Lyrical Ballads

by Jonathan Kerr

The Lyrical Ballads (1798) – Wordsworth and Coleridge’s first major literary undertaking and a pioneering work of English Romanticism – came into being at a tumultuous moment in England’s history.

The 1790s was an immensely difficult period for most people throughout Europe. Through this decade, Britain sustained major economic recession, and crop […]

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge
William Wordsworth
Wordsworth and Romanticism

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George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron replica by Thomas Phillips. Picture courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery.George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron replica by Thomas Phillips. Picture courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery.

'A Tassel to the Purse of Merit': Byron and literary failure

by Andrew Stott

For those who crave celebrity, obscurity is the worst affront – a long stretch in the penal colony of indifference with no promise of parole. Yet in the Romantic period, obscurity could be elevated to the status of an art.

Failure had both its laureate and its muse. The young poet, Thomas […]

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Lord Byron
Wordsworth and Romanticism

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