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A surprise-filled biography of the radical young poet whose fiery intellect revolutionized English poetry, The Hidden Wordsworth breaks through the carefully crafted but frequently misleading accounts of his youth that William Wordsworth created in his later years. In this enthralling narrative, the great Romantic poet emerges as a man of action during his youth and early manhood, when, in Wordsworth’s own words, “Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive, / But to be young was very heaven!”
Kenneth Johnston explores Wordsworth’s links with radical British reformists, French revolutionary leaders, and journalists, and, astonishingly, reveals Wordsworth as an agent for the British “Secret Service” on the Continent and at home. Deeply intertwined with his politics, Wordsworth’s emotional life has until now been even more deeply buried. Johnston illuminates and freshly interprets Wordsworth’s relations with his sister, Dorothy, with his French mistress, Annette Vallon, and with his sister-in-law,…[more]