Famed poet William Wordsworth's younger sister, Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1855), is known principally for her poems and journals, which have proved invaluable for later biographies and studies of the poet.

Dorothy began to write around 1795, when she shared a house with William in Dorset. Several of Dorothy's poems were included in her brother's publications; she herself published nothing. Her journals, the most well-known of which are the Alfoxden Journal (1798) and Grasmere Journals (1800-1803), were published posthumously. These journals were written with Dorothy's delicate, exquisite diction, describing the Wordsworth household, friends, and travels.

The Alfoxden Journal was written in Alfoxden, Somerset, where she met poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. They and her brother William traveled in Germany together and were continually sources of inspiration for each other in their writings.

In 1799, Dorothy settled with William in the Lake District of Grasmere at Dove Cottage, where she wrote her Grasmere Journals. Also, she made the acquaintance of writer Thomas DeQuincey there in 1807. In 1808, she moved back to Rydal and lived with her family.

In 1829, Dorothy became ill, and in 1835 she developed arteriosclerosis. For the last 20 years of her life, Dorothy suffered from an obscure illness that made her prematurely senile. She died in Rydal on January 25, 1855.

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