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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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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Jonathan KerrJonathan Kerr is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto.

Psychology and mental disorder in Wordsworth's poetry

By Jonathan Kerr

In 1800, William Wordsworth offers a bold and, at the time, deeply controversial claim about poetry. In the Preface to Lyrical Ballads (a collection he co-authored with his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge), Wordsworth argues that all poets should dispense with the ornate conventions of eighteenth-century verse and focus upon what he calls […]

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Unfashioned Creatures

Book review: Unfashioned Creatures by Lesley McDowell

Review by Pam Norfolk

‘Love is merely a madness,’ wrote Shakespeare but it was the poets and writers of the later Romantic period who came to love madness to distraction.

Mental disorders, sexual obsession and supernatural mystery were at the beating heart of 19th century literature… and leading the charge was Mary Shelley with her […]

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A silhouette of Dorothy Wordsworth by an unknown artist. The Wordsworth Trust.A silhouette of Dorothy Wordsworth by an unknown artist. The Wordsworth Trust.

Getting to know Dorothy Wordsworth

By Pamela Woof

Dorothy Wordsworth was a poet’s sister but she only became truly aware of the significance of that relationship when it burst on her when she was fifteen and a half. She had been separated from her four brothers and father when she was six at the death of her mother. Her girl-hood, […]

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William Wordsworth
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Claire ClairmontClaire Clairmont by Amelia Curran 1819. Image courtesy of Newstead

Claire Clairmont: On her letters and journals

By Lesley McDowell

“I have just got your amusing letter (no one writes such good letters as you do)…I have not the art of letter writing – You have it to an eminent degree.”

Mary Shelley was not attempting to ingratiate herself with her step-sister, Claire Clairmont, when she wrote these words to her towards […]

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Mary Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley
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.

'What Exile from himself can flee?': Byron and the price of exile

by Andrew McConnell Stott.

For one who identified so strongly with the bitterness and imagery of exile – of being marked out, cast out, and left to wander – Lord Byron did not flinch when it came to sending people away. Take Frank Boyce, a servant he had taken up to Cambridge in 1806, only […]

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