The Love Letters of William and Mary Wordsworth
Edited by Beth Darlington
The Love Letters of William and Mary Wordsworth collects 31 letters that William Wordsworth exchanged with his wife, Mary, during the early years of their marriage. These letters—fifteen from William to Mary and sixteen from her to him—were written during William's absences from home in 1810 and 1812 and offer an entirely new way of looking at the poet and his married life.
Reproduced here with an informative introduction and headnotes by Beth Darlington that set each missive in biographical context, the letters cover a wide range of topics: village life, Regency politics, poetry and painting, London gossip, rural manners, their five children, domestic activities, and family anecdotes. Yet along with these everyday incidents and practical concerns, there are tender passages in which the Wordsworths ardently declare their love for each other and reveal a profound happiness in their marriage.
The William Wordsworth who emerges from this correspondence is a figure more relaxed, more accessible, and indeed more human that he has been pictured; May emerges as a woman of keen intelligence, energy, and imagination. Revealing how thoroughly Wordsworth shared his inner and passional life with Mary, this volume puts to rest the notion that theirs was a marriage of convenience.