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William Wordsworth was born on April 7th 1770 in Cockermouth Cumberland England Young Williams parents John and Ann died during his boyhood Raised amid the mountains of Cumberland alongside the River Derwent Wordworth grew up in a rustic society and spent a great deal of his time playing outdoors in what he would later remember as a pure communion with nature In the early 1790s William lived for a time in France then in the grip of the violent Revolution Wordsworths philosophical sympathies lay with the revolutionaries but his loyalties lay with England whose monarchy he was not prepared to see overthrown While in France Wordsworth had a long affair with Annette Vallon with whom he had a daughter Caroline A later journey to France to meet Caroline now a young girl would inspire the great sonnet It is a beauteous evening calm and free The chaos and bloodshed of the Reign of Terror in Paris drove William to philosophy books he was deeply troubled by the rationalism he found in the works of thinkers such as William Godwin which clashed with his own softer more emotional understanding of the world In despair he gave up his pursuit of moral questions In the mid-1790s however Wordsworths increasing sense of anguish forced him to formulate his own understanding of the world and of the human mind in more concrete terms The theory he produced and the poetics he invented to embody it caused a revolution in English literature Developed throughout his life Wordsworths understanding of the human mind seems simple enough today what with the advent of psycholanalysis and the general Freudian acceptance of the importance of childhood in the adult psyche But in Wordsworths time in what Seamus Heaney has called Dr Johnsons supremely adult eighteenth century it was shockingly unlike anything that had been proposed before Wordsworth believed as he expressed in poems such as the Intimations of Immortality Ode that upon
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