Wordsworth, William

The poetry of William Wordsworth (1770–1850) on childhood represents both a recording and a remaking: In placing the child at the heart of Romantic literature, he also succeeded in creating a new vision of the child, one that was to have an impact far beyond literature. Continuing from Rousseau’s construction of the natural child, the Romantic child produced in poems such as Wordsworth’s ‘Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood’, ‘We are Seven’, and even ‘The Idiot Boy’ speaks further of a religious shift away from Calvinism and its doctrines of ‘original sin and natural depravity’, towards John Locke’s ‘tabula rasa’, and the Wordsworthian-Romantic ideal of children as ‘envoys from Heaven’ and from nature as part of an English pastoral ideal.

‘Trailing Clouds ...

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