“Dorothy Wordsworth’s Unpublished Letter to Her Niece”

This essay by Jiro Nagasawa analyzes an 1837 letter from Dorothy to her niece Dora, written after Dorothy was confined to a wheelchair or bed. Within the letter, Dorothy addresses her struggle with age, mental illness, and sorrow. This letter reveals that there may be something amiss in Dorothy’s head with a “wilderness of dreams.” It seems that Dorothy’s “restless feelings” stem from being confined. However, while stuck at home, Dorothy has William’s poems in order to free her mind. This letter pairs nicely with other writings on Dorothy’s sickness, including her “Thoughts on My Sick-Bed.” This matters today because it shows the power of the mind’s ability to escape hard situations and provides background into Dorothy’s own strategies of escape.

Contributed by Kori Dryer