William Wordsworth was an 18th-century poet whose philosophical poems have been viewed as some of the most influential in history.
He was born in Cockermouth, Cumberland, in 1770 and joined St John College, Cambridge in October 1770. During his university years he struggled to keep up with academic standards before he graduated without honours.
In 1790 Wordsworth left for France, and for the next decade he lived both in London and Paris. Importantly, he was in Paris for the French Revolution before returning to London at the birth of his daughter, Anne-Caroline, in 1792.
During 1797 and his period at Racedown, Wordsworth discovered his poet voice and themes. There he re-examined his opinions and ideological standpoint. At this stage his close friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge flowered and soon Coleridge believed that Wordsworth would become the greatest philosphical poet in the language.
Wordsworth's best piece has often been recognised as being 'The Prelude'.
Gill, Stephen, ‘Wordsworth, William (1770–1850)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, 2004). [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/29973, accessed 7 Sept 2007]