In March 1793, Wordsworth's French lover Annette Vallon
, having given birth to their daughter Caroline in France on December 12, 1792, wrote a letter to William in England.
Wordsworth had had an affair with Annette Vallon
in Orleans and Blois.
38 Frenchwoman Annette Vallon
was the mother of which great poet's natural daughter?
And there is the separation from his French mistress, Annette Vallon
, and the death of John, which brings reminders and seems to almost to demand The Recluse as payment (2002, 14).
A three-and-a-half-length gap to fourth-placed Annette Vallon
suggests the form is sound.
She may not be in the same class yet of some of her stable companions at the Peter Harris yard, but Annette Vallon
is one not to be missed at Newmarket today.
The next step, of describing a new kind of Wordsworthian individuality without resorting to any historical causality or attempting to account for such a degree of psychological singularity, leads none the less to the book's most enlightening chapter, where Peter Bell and 'Nutting' are seen as proving 'the irrepressibility of the human instinct to leave on nature a mark, a trace, an inscription'; 'A slumber did my spirit seal' reveals the return of Annette Vallon
as a presence and how 'an excess or overbalance of pleasure, such as the poet especially knows, may turn a privation into its opposite'; 'The Brothers' discloses the necessity of breaking the 'links to a home' in order to learn how to think.
My own reservations stem from the way in which late twentieth-century concepts are used to assess the dynamics of Wordsworth's inner life: the Cooksons (the poet's grandparents) 'certainly emotionally abused' Wordsworth (54); John Wordsworth Sr was unwilling 'to assume a hands-on role as a single parent' (47); Wordsworth's 'relationship' with Annette Vallon
was not 'a one-night stand' (81); and so forth.
Appendix II is a letter of 1835 from Annette Vallon
, urging Wordsworth to attend to his financial responsibilities (as she believed) towards their daughter.