The lives of the Romantic poets have been examined mainly through the evidence they have left behind: letters, journals, diaries, and their own self-revealing poems and essays. In the case of William Wordsworth, that evidence is massive, but it often obscures the real person behind the writings. In this fascinating account, Kenneth R. Johnston portrays a Wordsworth different in crucial ways from the one that the poet intended us to know. Taking advantage of unprecedented access to archives, family papers and intimate letters, he reveals, for example, the poet's complex relationship with his sister Dorothy; the true story of his affair with Annette Vallon during his year in France in 1791-92, the impact of her frank eroticism on his poetry, and his clandestine trip back to her at the beginning of the Reign of Terror; and, perhaps most intriguing of all, Wordsworth's surprisingly close connections to the political establishment of his day, including members of the newly formed British Secret Service in London and Germany.
This brilliantly insightful biography breaks through the carefully crafted but frequently misleading accounts of his youth that Wordsworth created in his conservative later years. The Hidden Wordsworth reveals the radical young poet whose fiery intellect revolutionized English poetry.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing