The Hidden Wordsworth: Poet, Lover, Rebel, Spy

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 965 pages
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A surprise-filled biography of the radical young poet whose fiery intellect revolutionized English poetry, The Hidden Wordsworth breaks through the carefully crafted but frequently misleading accounts of his youth that William Wordsworth created in his later years. In this enthralling narrative, the great Romantic poet emerges as a man of action during his youth and early manhood, when, in Wordsworth's own words, "Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive, / But to be young was very heaven!" Kenneth Johnston explores Wordsworth's links with radical British reformists, French revolutionary leaders, and journalists, and, astonishingly, reveals Wordsworth as an agent for the British "Secret Service" on the Continent and at home. Deeply intertwined with his politics, Wordsworth's emotional life has until now been even more deeply buried. Johnston illuminates and freshly interprets Wordsworth's relations with his sister, Dorothy, with his French mistress, Annette Vallon, and with his sister-in-law, Sara Hutchinson. At the same time, The Hidden Wordsworth explores the poet's intense and often destructive relations with a cluster of young writers, leading up to his friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, one of the most productive, if highly fraught, collaborations in literary history. Based on new research in government archives in England and France, school and university records, and intimate letters, The Hidden Wordsworth is a warts-and-all account of a young poet who lived a life even Byron would have envied.
  

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The hidden Wordsworth: poet, lover, rebel, spy

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

From the Lyrical Ballads to the epic poem Prelude, Wordsworth expresses the "natural supernaturalism" and the radical individualism of the Romantic movement. In exhaustive, and sometimes exhausting ... Read full review

Review: The Hidden Wordsworth: Poet, Lover, Rebel, Spy

User Review  - James Prothero - Goodreads

Fascinating biography. Johnson challenges a lot of assumptions and raised a firestorm when he did it. But the fact is some of our ideas of Wordsworth need shaking up. Read full review

Contents

Images of Wordsworth
3
THE CHILD IS FATHER
15
The Vale ofEsthwaite
42
While We Were Schoolboys
69
Verses from the Impulse of My Own Mind
93
Stranger Lounger Lover
111
Young LoveLiking
135
Weighing the Man in the Balance
155
Triumphs of Failure
565
Wye Wandering
588
Mr Wordsworth
609
Writing in SelfDefense
630
Destination Unknown
654
PART III
655
WHAT IS A POET?
671
We Have Learnt to Know Its Value 6
673

Something of a Republic
175
Golden Hours
188
Golden Days and Giddy Prospects
203
OF THE
233
The Mighty Mind
264
Revolution and Romance
284
Castaway
329
A Return to France?
358
The Evidence of Speculation
378
Legacy Hunting
401
Philanthropy or Treason?
427
Of Cabbages and Radicals
468
An Independent Intellect
494
The Spy and the Mariner
516
The Mariner and the Recluse
550
Home at Grasmere
697
A k a Lyrical Ballads
721
Selling the Book Creating the Poet
751
Peace Marriage Inheritance
769
Disciples and Partners
792
The End of The Prelude
810
Presenting the Poet
821
Hiding the Man
834
Genealogical Chart
844
Was Wordsworth the Name Not to Be Mentioned?
847
Abbreviations
853
Notes
855
Bibliography
927
Index
935
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Kenneth R. Johnston chair of the English department at Indiana University, lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

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