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Dorothy was also an amazing Wordsworth | Letters

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Shirley Stuart on the contribution made by Dorothy Wordsworth, and Sylvia Ayling on memorising a sonnet by her brother

Whether their relationship was sexual is something no one but Dorothy and William Wordsworth will ever know, and that’s as it should be (Wordsworth siblings’ passion explained, 16 March). But once again, no mention was made in your report of Dorothy’s own poetic gifts and their influence on William’s poetry.

We very likely wouldn’t have had that everlasting daffodils poem if she hadn’t seen the field of flowers in bloom first and told William to go and look at them. She read and criticised all of his poems before he sent them off for publication and was a respected critic of the works of their entire circle. She did this while cooking, cleaning, growing the food they ate, making clothes for herself and William (at one point, even shoes) – doing everything that allowed him to be free to write.

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