Englishwoman Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1855) could be—and has been by some—dismissed as one of those figures in literary history whose only importance lies in shedding light on another, more illustrious figure, in this case, her brother, Romantic poet William Wordsworth. Undeniably, had we the opportunity to ask Dorothy about her significance, she would probably assess the value of her life in terms of her relationships to her brother and the rest of her family. Dorothy's life, however, can also be characterized as a rare embodiment of an ideal-as the "child of Nature" so idealized by Romantic writers. Her "natural life" and the written record of it that she left offer a special perspective into one woman's view of the relationship between humanity and nature.



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