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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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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Percy Bysshe Shelley by Amelia Curran.Percy Bysshe Shelley by Amelia Curran. Picture courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery

'Full fathom five the poet lies': The death of Percy Bysshe Shelley

by Lynn Shepherd

The Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley died on 8th July 1822, at the age of 29, when his boat went down in a sudden storm off the coast of the Gulf of Spezia. A dreadful death, dreadfully young, but was it really just a tragic accident, or something far darker and more […]

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Percy Bysshe Shelley by Amelia Curran.Percy Bysshe Shelley by Amelia Curran. Picture courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery

Romantic Readings: 'The Cloud' by Percy Bysshe Shelley

by Sarah Doyle

Let’s be honest.  In our weather-obsessed culture, clouds have a fairly poor reputation, both meteorologically and metaphorically.  They blot out the sun, darken our mood, loom over our heads, rain on our parade – and are only tolerated when, we tell ourselves, they have a silver lining.  Most famously, perhaps, Wordsworth “wandered […]

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John Keats by William Hilton, after  Joseph Severn. National Portrait Gallery.John Keats by William Hilton, after Joseph Severn. National Portrait Gallery.

Romantic readings: 'When I have fears' by John Keats

by Suzie Grogan.

John Keats has always been ‘my’ poet.  I bought my first Collected Poems as a twelve-year-old in a wonderful bookshop in Totnes, where we were staying on holiday from our home in North London. Keats had been the subject of  a ‘Blue Peter Special Assignment’, introduced by Valerie Singleton, only a few […]

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William Wordsworth by and after Henry William Pickersgill.William Wordsworth by and after Henry William Pickersgill.

Romantic portraits: William Wordsworth by Henry William Pickersgill

by Tim Moreton

As a portrait of an extremely respected public figure by a well established contemporary portrait painter, this painting might at first sight have seemed a very straightforward candidate for acquisition by the newly formed Portrait Gallery when it was offered for purchase by the artist in 1860. William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Poet Laureate, […]

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