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The quintessence of William Wordsworth are a few familiar titles: Lyrical Ballads, including “We Are Seven” or “Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey” (composed in 1798), early books of The Prelude (written in 1798-99), Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1800, 1802), “It is a beauteous Evening” (1802), “Ode: Intimations of Immortality” (1802-4), “I wandered lonely as a cloud” (1804). These works seem to constitute the material from which most curricula build the notion of “authentic William Wordsworth,” which, once fixed and defined, is then clashed with later poetry written by William Wordsworth. The poet lived till he was eighty (1770-1850) and was active practically till the end of that long life. But “authentic Wordsworth” seems to have had a very short lifespan—and, second, he seems to have been “made” rather than “born,” considering that the “characteristically Wordsworthian” themes, concerns and attitudes had not really emerged until William Wordsworth met Samuel Taylor Coleridge. . .
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