Books about the Romantics

2020 is the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth's birth. It's a very exciting year and although visits to Dove Cottage and Allen Bank in Grasmere, and Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, are prohibited at the moment, there are lots of interesting books being published, to help me celebrate Wordsworth's birth.

Having more time browsing online bookshops has led to an interesting haul of Wordsworth related books. It's a good thing that I have more time for reading as the to-be-read pile is getting dangerously tall.

I have found myself browsing the Wordsworth Trust's new website, as well as Amazon and Blackwell's websites. There are some fabulous new publications. I now have quite a large to-be-read pile and am looking forward to immersing myself in Wordsworth and his fellow Romantics. I think the first book from the pile will be Jonathan Bate's Radical Wordsworth. In this book, Wordsworth is portrayed as “radical” not just in his youthful politics but in his poetry’s return to the roots of selfhood and society . It shows how and why “Wordsworth made a difference” and changed poetry for ever.

After this whopper of a book, I will dip into Simon Bainbridge's Mountaineering and British Romanticism. Simon Bainbridge spoke about this book last year at a Ruskin event we attended. I thought it sounded fascinating at the time and am looking forward to reading it now. The Romantics are so closely linked with walking and climbing and it will be interesting to see how these themes are discussed and handled.

I foresee many happy hours spent reading about Wordsworth, his family, friends and extended circle. Reading is not a substitute for visiting the places which mattered most to the poet, but it's some compensation and will keep me content until the days when we can venture to Grasmere and Rydal and take part in some anniversary celebrations.