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22 December 1801

Listen to Dr Jenn Ashworth of Lancaster University read from Dorothy Wordsworth's journal entry for 22 December 1801.

In this step, you can listen to novelist and academic, Dr Jenn Ashworth read Dorothy’s journal entry for 22 December 1801 aloud while following Dorothy’s handwriting. If this is too difficult to read, there is a transcript attached that you can read instead or as well as this!

This is a lengthy journal entry, which gives you some sense of the Wordsworths’ daily lives together. Dorothy describes meeting an old man on the road. She lets him pass by before, regretting this, she gives him money and they talk to the old man and find out something of his story. They see someone else on their way home (old Fleming and his grandchild) and Dorothy remembers Peggy Ashburner’s gossip about ‘the Queen of Patterdale’.

When listening to and/or reading this entry, think about what this episode tells you about life in those times.

  • What kind of details does Dorothy notice during her day?
  • What do you think of the old man’s story?
  • How does Dorothy describe the people she meets and the landscape she moves through?
  • Are there bits of this journal entry that you particularly like or that you might criticise?

A short quiz follows the reading.

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William Wordsworth: Poetry, People and Place

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