Radical Wordsworth

The Poet Who Changed the World

Jonathan Bate

View Inside Price: $35.00

April 28, 2020
608 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
28 color + 1 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300169645

On the 250th anniversary of Wordsworth’s birth comes a highly imaginative and vivid portrait of a revolutionary poet who embodied the spirit of his age

Published in time for the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s birth, this is the biography of a great poetic genius, a revolutionary who changed the world. Wordsworth rejoiced in the French Revolution and played a central role in the cultural upheaval that we call the Romantic Revolution.

He and his fellow Romantics changed forever the way we think about childhood, the sense of the self, our connection to the natural environment, and the purpose of poetry. But his was also a revolutionary life in the old sense of the word, insofar as his art was of memory, the return of the past, the circling back to childhood and youth. This beautifully written biography is purposefully fragmentary, momentary, and selective, opening up what Wordsworth called "the hiding-places of my power."

Sir Jonathan Bate is Foundation Professor of Environmental Humanities at Arizona State University and a senior research fellow at Oxford University, where he was formerly provost of Worcester College.

“Jonathan Bate is a dazzling scholar.”—Wall Street Journal, on Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life

“One of the very best biographies in years.”—Joyce Carol Oates, on Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life

“Incisive, humane and deeply absorbing. . .”—New York Times

"A captivating read. Jonathan Bate has produced a life of the longest living major Romantic poet foreshortened through those 'spots of time' that left their most enduring impact on his mind."—Denise Gigante, Stanford University

"Jonathan Bate brings to Wordsworth's poetry a great fund of local knowledge and a sympathy both personal and profound. This remarkable biography encompasses a life story and a subtle critical commentary, but it is also an invitation to think and act in defense of the natural world, 'the place where in the end / We find our happiness, or not at all.'"—David Bromwich, author of The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke

"Wordsworth did indeed change the world, and Jonathan Bate superbly explains not only how the poet achieved that, but also why the change is for the better. This book has something for both those who know Wordsworth a little, and a lot."—James Engell, Harvard University

“This critical biography fills a long-felt need and does it superbly, making a convincing case for the great poet’s originality and imaginative power. Skillfully interweaving perceptive criticism with biographical contexts, Jonathan Bate shows in depth how Wordsworth created a new poetry based in the language of ordinary life.”—Leo Damrosch, author of The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age

Sales Restrictions: For sale in North America only