Wordsworth's Poetical Works

The Wordsworthian Child: A Symbol for Romantic Idealism in "We Are Seven" and "Intimations of Immortality" College

The turn of the 19th century was a morbid, dark time period: death was a common visitor, as plagues and diseases diminished the children, and the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars diminished the overall population. In response to such loss, humans became relegated to a number in a new, practical system of population management, as government officials went door to door, inquiring of the household size. Idealism and childlike views of nature and one’s place in the universe were viewed as radical, liberal ideas in this age of pragmatism and rigid logic. Additionally, this era of industrialization left no room for a childlike passion and appreciation for nature. In the midst of this culture, William Wordsworth came forward, using poetry to propose an alternate lens to view the world. According to Wordsworth, in his famous essay that set in motion the Romantic Era of literature, “the passions of men are incorporated with the beautiful and permanent forms of nature” (Wordsworth “Preface” 174). These views of nature as the key to seeing beauty in an imperfect world were reminiscent of childhood, as Wordsworth felt that children possess the ability to see the world in this romantic way he idolized. Thus, children are major players...

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