This study focuses on the first twenty-eight years of the life of William Wordsworth (1770–1850), to shed new light on the poet’s early development. Previous scholars seeking insight on Wordsworth’s early years had leaned heavily on his long autobiographical poem The Prelude, considered by many to be the poet’s greatest work. Meyer’s biography finds The Prelude to be misleading and incomplete, and instead relies on Wordsworth’s poems and correspondence to provide a more accurate and nuanced picture of the poet’s sometimes challenging formative years.