Dorothy Wordsworth and Adoption
William and Dorothy (there were also another three children) Wordsworth's mother died when William was eight, and their father died five years later. Although the family had been well off (their father was an attorney), debts owed by their father's main client were not paid, leaving the orphans much less well provided for.
The children were separated and went to live with various uncles. William and Dorothy were especially close and the separation was very painful for them, but in 1795 she inherited enough money for them to live together until William died.
He published his first poem in 1787 and went on to become one of the most famous poets in the English language.
Dorothy's journals and diaries are a major source of information about William's life and poetry, but are also important literature in their own right, and she was an major figure in the Romantic movement generally. In 1829 she became ill and a permanent invalid; in 1835 she developed arteriosclerosis, which affected her mind for the rest of her life.
Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 Dictionary of National Biography The Wordsworth Companion to Literature in English, edited by Ian Ousby. (Ware: Wordsworth Editions Ltd., 1994) Johnston, Kenneth R. The Hidden Wordsworth: Poet, Lover, Rebel, Spy. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1998) Gittings, Robert, and Manton, Jo. Dorothy Wordsworth. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985)