Embellished Manuscripts Collection
* Medium Lined pages *
William Wordsworth and other Romantic-era writers brought passion, instinct and emotion back to the forefront. This handwritten letter quoting “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (his poem also known as “Daffodils”) comes from a time when Wordsworth felt the need to defend his writing style.
William Wordsworth (1770–1850) ushered in the Romantic era in English literature with the publication of Lyrical Ballads, a book he wrote with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and published in 1798. Challenging the previous era’s emphasis on logic and rationality, Wordsworth and Coleridge’s work is a testament to the importance of poetry and offers a poet’s view on the craft.
As a writer of the Romantic era, Wordsworth brought emotion and passion back to an art form that had become overly intellectualized. He was considered an experimental poet whose work challenged accepted ideas about what poetry was and how it might be written. Cambridge-educated, Wordsworth cared little for formal education and the pretense and lofty diction studied in school. He was a sincere and contemplative thinker who believed poetry should be written in a language understandable to anybody, regardless of class or education.
To him, the artist’s fundamental task was to delight and inspire as many people as possible, and he sought to bring poetry to a wide audience through a more accessible language. His writing evoked the quietude and power of a simple lifestyle, and for this his style was sharply criticized during his time.
Wordsworth spent most of his 80 years living on the edge of the Lake District in the northwest of England. He was inspired by the beauty of his environment, seeing a similarity between poetry and nature as they are both things that touch all living beings. He felt that any person who experienced nature could learn all the secrets of the world. In fact, it was a “long belt” of daffodils that inspired the poem Wordsworth quotes in the letter reproduced on our cover. Written in the early 1800s, the letter shows his desire to defend his writing style against the criticisms of the sophisticated elite. In doing so, he quotes his poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” which was first published in 1807. The poem, with its captivating lyrical style, has since become his most famous work and is held in high regard as a classic of English Romantic poetry. We are pleased to bring both a piece of Wordsworth’s most famous work and his reflections on it to our Embellished Manuscripts Collection.
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WORDSWORTH - DAFFODILS
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