William Wordsworth lecture performance with readings by Graham Fawcett

  • Brendon Books
  • November 6
  • 18:30 - 20:00
Event Website

William Wordsworth has come to be thought of as Wordsworthy, as though he were always the older man with a face like a sober civic worthy who just happened to have a decent poem about daffodils, and an odd-looking closeness to his sister, in his distant past.

Such is the crassness and impoverishment of feeding on crumbs from biography’s sumptuous table and then not reading the life, let alone the poetry, at all.

The true worth of Wordsworth, which can be grasped by seeing him as a man of action, is often simply ignored. His record as man and poet until at least his mid-thirties is captivating. At the ages of 20 and 22, he was twice in France during the Revolution, was politically active, and fathered a love-child. Before he was 30, he had become at least half of the driving force and vigorous inspiration for the greatest revolution in poetry that England has ever known, and helped Coleridge get started on his ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. That his sister Dorothy helped Wordsworth write and live and be is beyond doubt.

On the page he is a man of elemental and fertile stamina: his vast autobiographical masterpiece The Prelude is one of the most beautiful, engrossing, accomplished, sustained, expansive and invigorating poems in our, or any other, language. It is among the finest examples ever of the grace-giving power of nature, the recoverable buried treasure of memory, and the utterly engaging companionability of commentary as he makes space for us to walk beside him