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English Literature   >   The Poetry of William Wordsworth


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The Poetry of William Wordsworth

In this course, Professor Keith Hanley (University of Lancaster) explores the poetry of the great Romantic poet, William Wordsworth. In the first module, we think about Romanticism, the Romantic movement, and some of the leading themes of that period, including the relationship between fantasy and reality, as well as the period as an age of revolution and change. After that, we think about the specific places and landscapes that appear in Wordsworth's poetry, (especially the Lake District) before moving on in the third module to think about how Wordsworth responded to the two great political events of his lifetime: the Revolution in France (1789-99, much of which Wordsworth witnessed first-hand) and the Industrial Revolution in England (c. 1770 – c. 1820-40). In the fourth module, we explore the theme of nature in Wordsworth's poetry, focusing in particular on the different levels on which Wordsworth relates to nature, before turning in the fifth module to the theme of the imagination and creativity. In the sixth and final module, we think about the figure of the child in Wordsworth's poetry, focusing in particular on Wordsworth's views on education, the child's relationship to nature, and the way in which imagination changes as one moves from childhood and adulthood.

Taken as a whole, this course covers a very wide range of Wordsworth's poetry, including several passages from the Prelude, as well as his poems 'Home at Grasmere', 'The Brothers', 'The Naming of Places', 'The Excursion', 'The Idiot Boy', 'The Last of the Flock', 'Michael', 'Old Man Travelling', 'A Slumber did my Spirit Seal', 'We are Seven', 'Lines Written in Early Spring', 'Simon Lee: The Old Huntsman', 'Tintern Abbey', 'Expostulation and Reply', 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud', 'There was a Boy', 'Ode: Intimations of Immortality' and 'Anecdote for Fathers'.


In this module, we explore the concept of Romanticism, focusing in particular on reality and fantasy, the Romantic imagination, and revolution, both social and political.

Cite this Lecture

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Hanley, K. (2018, August 15). The Poetry of William Wordsworth - Romanticism [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hanley, K. "The Poetry of William Wordsworth – Romanticism." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


Prof. Keith Hanley

Prof. Keith Hanley

Lancaster University