Wordsworth Free Online Course – Week 3

Week 3 covers Wordsworth’s tale about a shepherd named Michael, and it also looks at Wordsworth’s importance of place.


3.1 [Video]
This video takes us to Greenhead Gill in the Lake District which was the setting for the poem, Michael.

3.2 [Video]
Here we are treated to a small reading from the poem, Michael.

3.3 [Discussion]
In this section, we’re asked to read 40 lines from the poem and write a small paragraph about what value Michale has to Wordsworth.

3.4 [Article]
Personalising place. What a great creative task! Here we are asked to visit a place that holds some special meaning to us, spend a few minutes just listening and then writing down our thoughts. Living just an hour away from the Lake District, I had thought of going there but, due to time issues, I spent an hour by the sea.

3.5 [Video]
In this video, we journey from the Crag to the Sheepfold and continue on with the poem, Michael. Here we discuss the sheepfold and how it holds en element of symbolism to Michael.

3.6 [Video]
In this video, we hear a number of passages from ‘Michael’ and are asked to think about the relationship with symbols in poetry.

3.7 [Video]
This video concentrates more on the sheepfold and we discover that Wordsworth had many places, including a sheepfold where he liked to visit and write outside. We also discover that, like many writers, he struggles to compose his poetry on occasion.

3.8 [Video]
A video discussing the various ways that ‘Michael’ was written, changed, and re-written. We also see how the poem progresses through a number of different manuscripts.

3.9 [Article]
This section gives us the opportunity to download a couple of the manuscripts from 3.8 and spend some time looking closely at them and making some comparisons.

3.10 [Discussion]
Here we are asked to think back to Wordsworth’s principles in Lyrical Ballads and to see how, if at all, they relate to the poem, Michael. Interestingly, we know one of the principles is that of spontaneity, yet we know the original version of ‘Michael’ was torn up, and also we know that Wordsworth had to write it under pressure to fill a gap in Lyrical Ballads – this was due to them deciding not to include Coleridge’s poem, Christabel.

3.11 [Video]
A video to summarise week 3.

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