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Celebrating Dorothy Wordsworth

Christmas Day 2021 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of writer Dorothy Wordsworth, younger sister of poet William Wordsworth. Dorothy’s reputation as a writer was long overshadowed by her brother, but with the publication of her diaries and letters in the mid-twentieth century, scholars and critics have re-evaluated the importance of her writing and her contributions to the Romantic movement.

Facsimile of a page from Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals, edited by Ernest De Selincourt.

Dorothy was a keen observer of nature, people, and the landscapes she encountered at home and in her travels. Her journals have often been studied for the relationship between Dorothy’s journal entries and William’s poetry. Dorothy’s own travel writings, such as her “Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland” and her description of ascending Scafell Pike, have also garnered the attention of modern scholars, as has her correspondence with other Romantic writers in the Wordsworth circle.

The Rowe Collection of William Wordsworth actively collects the work of Dorothy, including published editions of her writing, and biographies, criticism, and other secondary works. Researchers can find out more on the Rowe Collection website under the Dorothy Wordsworth tab.

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