The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals

Dorothy Wordsworth: Identity through Affiliation and the Gender Division of the British Romantic Period College

Dorothy Wordsworth, poetess, diarist, and sister of William Wordsworth, a well-known Romantic author, was not recognized as a notable literary figure until well after her death in 1855. Despite her close connection with her brother, her strong friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and her general involvement in the Romantic literary community, Wordsworth’s own writings were largely kept private with the exception of a few anonymous publications in 1815 in her brother’s collection of poetry, Poems. Even after the posthumous publication of her journals, The Alfoxden Journal and The Grasmere Journals, in 1897 and the even later publication of her poetry in 1987, her position as an author seems overshadowed by her brother’s prestige. Still, Wordsworth’s writing is deserving of some degree of reverence as it offers unique insight into the life and mind of a nineteenth century woman. Never intending for her journals to be published, the intimacy of Wordsworth’s writing reveals small details about herself, her brother, and the time period that would have otherwise been lost to history. The small details contained in Wordsworth’s Alfoxden and Grasmere Journals expose larger truths about nineteenth century British society concerning...

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