The literary works of poet William Wordsworth presented by Irish writer James Plunkett.
William Wordsworth was born in 1770 in the town of Cockermouth in Cumbria, England. As a child he was stiff and moody with a violent temper. His mother said that of her five children, William was the one that was going to be remarkable. He attended school in Hawkshead, where his name is still visible etched into a desk.
Wordsworth wrote very honestly about his youthful exploits in his long autobiographical and personal poem 'The Prelude'.
In 1787, William was sent to St John's College, Cambridge which also features in 'The Prelude'.
During a holiday from Cambridge, William Wordsworth set off on a walking tour of France and Switzerland. He returned full of ideas about freedom and the equality of men which set the scene for the early stages of the French Revolution.
In 1798, he published Lyrical Ballads, a collection of poems jointly produced by Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It included Coleridge's now famous poem 'The Ancient Mariner'.
In 1800, they published the second edition in which Wordsworth wrote a preface which set out his theories of the art of poetry which were an attack on the prevailing nature and ideas of poetry. Critics were enraged and the simplicity of the poems was ridiculed by reviewers in terms of poetic diction, figures of speech, and beauty of expression.
The reviewers complained that the poems contained the language of prose, that the subject matter was trivial and every day, and that the characters were all humble peasants without position or property. Wordsworth had anticipated such objections to his work and set out his answers in the preface.
My principal object in writing the poems was to choose incidents from common life and to describe them as far as possible in the language really used by men.
The reviewers could not accept Wordsworth's approach to the noble art of poetry.
They said that they could see no merit whatever in Mr Wordsworth's verse.
Despite what the critics said, Wordsworth had the ability to define what he meant by poetry.
Poetry is truth carried alive into the heart by passion.
'Telefís Scoile: English Literature' was broadcast on 28 April 1969. The presenter is James Plunkett.
'Telefís Scoile' was an educational television programme that gave school lessons in maths, science and literature, in Irish and English, for secondary school students at Junior (Intermediate/Junior Certificate) and Senior (Leaving Certificate) levels. ‘Telefís Scoile’ was first broadcast on 1st January 1964 and ran until 1979. It was initiated by RTÉ in 1964 in association with the Department of Education.