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William Wordsworth: Poetry, People and Place

Lancaster University via FutureLearn


Explore the great poetry of William Wordsworth and his writing process

This free online course will explore the great poetry of William Wordsworth, with an emphasis on his writing process and the inspirational landscape of the Lake District. This course is presented in association with the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere.

You will study how Wordsworth created and revised some of his greatest works including “I wandered lonely as a Cloud” (perhaps better known as “Daffodils”) and The Prelude (his autobiographical masterpiece). We will draw on the magnificent collection of manuscripts held by the Wordsworth Trust in the museum next to his home.

Through readings and discussions focusing on Grasmere and the landscape of the Lake District, the course will explore why this location was so important for Wordsworth.

This course is open to anyone with an interest in poetry, place and the process of writing.

If you haven’t read Wordsworth before, the course will give you an enjoyable introduction to one of the best-loved poets in English literature.

If you’re already familiar with his poetry, your understanding will be enhanced through this unique opportunity to study it where it was written.


  • Introducing Wordsworth and Lyrical Ballads
    • Introduction
    • Quiz
    • Lyrical Ballads
    • Poem: 'The Tables Turned'
    • Working with Manuscripts: 'Old Man Travelling'
    • Reflection and Summing Up
  • ‘Spots of Time’: Childhood, Education and Memory in The Prelude
    • Writing The Prelude
    • Beginning The Prelude
    • Childhood, Education and Memory
    • Assessment activity
    • Working with Manuscripts: The Goslar Letter
    • Reflection and Summing Up
  • 'Michael': Wordsworth and the Importance of Place
    • 'Michael' and the Importance of Place
    • The Sheepfold in 'Michael'
    • The Sheepfold and the Writing of 'Michael'
    • Reflection and Summing Up
  • William and Dorothy Wordsworth in and around Grasmere
    • Arriving in Grasmere
    • Assessment activity
    • The Grasmere Community and Dorothy’s Journals
    • Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal
    • Dorothy, William and the Daffodils
    • Summing Up

Taught by

Sharon Ruston, Sally BUSHELL and Simon Bainbridge


4.8 rating, based on 6 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 265 ratings

Start your review of William Wordsworth: Poetry, People and Place

  • Heather Goodwin
    This is an easygoing course, with a range of activities and content to suit most participants. It was well-supported, and many of the participant comments and interactions added insightful and valuable content. The course designers have evidently th…
  • Ben Curtis
    Very interesting course, and relevant to studies of literature and humanities. Good introduction to Wordsworth and lots of details not available without visiting or doing research. Really enjoyed it and picked up some further reading goals.
  • Elizabeth Fraser
    I loved this class. The lectures were wonderful and the assignments were varied. I would take a class again from this team in a heart beat.
  • Erkan Melih Şensoy

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