Dorothy’s Relationship With William

In celebrating Dorothy Wordsworth as a strong and influential woman of her time, it is nearly impossible not to notice those people she affected directly, above all her brother, the great poet William Wordsworth. During their adult lives, the two siblings remained close to each other—in physical location (sharing a home for more than 50 years), in sensibilities about the world, and especially in an emotional and practical interdependence. Their attachment enveloped not only the way in which they lived but also they way in which they worked. It is rarely possible to find a sample of William Wordsworth’s writing without also finding the fingerprints of his sister on the page. More than an encouraging muse, Dorothy was his “dearest friend,” his confidante, and his collaborator. And it is this literary aspect of her life (known mostly from her own journals and letters) that has inadvertently caused a cult of remembrance in her own favor. As a remarkable writer in her own right, Dorothy  reminds us of the importance of making connections to the world and the people around us. Though largely unknown during her own lifetime, her contributions have forever changed the way we think of “Wordsworth Country.”

In the Footsteps of William and Dorothy, An Illustrated Anthology, 1957
Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, 1970 reprint edition
Carol Ann Duffy, Dorothy Wordsworth’s Christmas Birthday, 2014
Edmund Lee's Dorothy Wordsworth: The Story of a Sister’s Love, 1886

This display case assembled by Alexandra Kennington, Lauralee Yount, and Matthew McCollum.