Being home to some of the most unique and beautiful terrains in all of England certainly qualifies the Lake District as inspiring countryside. It is no wonder then that the region has also become famous for attracting the dreamers, writers, and beloved poets that have become known as the lake poets. The term refers to a group of poets that lived in the Lake District at the turn of the nineteenth century. Although they were known collectively as part of the Romantic movement of literature, the poets of the Lake District didn’t follow any particular school of thought or literary style that was known at the time they were writing. All were simply drawn to and inspired by the beauty of the lakes and fells that surrounded them.
Although the work of the Lake Poets was officially shunned and widely criticized by entities like the Edinburgh Review, several have become very widely respected. The most notable of these would most likely be William Wordsworth, who was one of the few to be born in the region, just a few miles from Bassenthwaite. Although he departed the region for an extended trip to Germany with friend and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge at the end of 1798, Wordsworth eventually returned to the Lakes along with his sister Dorothy and wife Sara, and settled at Grasmere.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, famed composer of “Rime of The Ancient Mariner” is also considered one of the Lake Poets, and consequently lived only ten miles away from Wordsworth at Greta Hall in Keswick. Despite the peace and serenity of the surrounding fells and moors, Coleridge met with much strife following his establishment with the beloved poets at the Lakes. Marital problems, an unfortunate addiction to opium and frequent illness troubled the poet, eventually leading to his composition of the poem “Dejection: An Ode.”
Besides being one of the Lake Poets, native Englishman Robert Southey was also a writer of essays and letter, a biographer and historian, and a general literary scholar. He is most famous for being named as Britain’s poet laureate in 1813, a title he held until his death 30 years later, and for the lives and accomplishments of historical figures like John Bunyan, John Wesley, William Cowper, Oliver Cromwell and Horatio Nelson. The biographies of several of the previously mentioned men are still in print today. Although sometimes forgotten in the brighter flame of his lakeside cohorts, Southey made immense contributions to Romantic literature, and is the originator of the Goldilocks tale, or Story of the Three Bears, which is beloved by children all over the world.
Miss McCulla is a retired English teacher of 32 years. She has Mastery of the grammar and mechanics of English, and has taught expository, fiction writing, and rhetorical skills to hundreds of students and aspiring writers throughout her career. She has written/edited/self-published five books, and currently manages a writing blog called The Underground Tutor where she gathers essays, articles, entries, papers, manuals, profiles, criticisms, analyses of literature, just like those asked of students and writers in the university and publisher houses, and years of “teacher tips” and “general interest examples,” and passes them on to interested writers.
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