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Rare Books and Special Collections At Northern Illinois University: William Wordsworth Collection

A brief guide to Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University

William Wordsworth Collection at NIU

William Wordsworth, 1770-1850

This significant gathering of books by and about Wordsworth was acquired by the Library in 1981. Many of the items are first editions and presentation copies from the library of George Lillie Craik (1837-1905), who for forty years was an active partner in Macmillans and included among his literary friends such writers as Tennyson, John Morley, Stopford Brooke, Margaret Oliphant, and Charlotte Yonge. Craik's special interest was in poetry, especially the poetry of Wordsworth.

Included in the Wordsworth Collection are the Lyrical Ballads With Other Poems. London: Ptd. for T. N. Longman and O. Rees, Paternoster-Row, by Biggs and Co. Bristol, 1800. 2 vols. In volume one, a second state of the second edition, is the first appearance of Wordsworth's preface in which he states what became "The Manifesto of the Romantic Movement” and includes the statement, "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origin from the emotion recollected in tranquillity.” Other highlights of the collection include first editions of The Excursion ..., Peter Bell, a Tale in Verse, Yarrow Revisited, and Other Poems, The Prelude ..., and so on. Many of the items are presentation copies and bear the bookplates of Arthur Houghton, J. B. Hawes, and, of course, George Lillie Craik. We continue to add materials to this collection whenever possible. To see which particular titles we own, please search our online catalog.

Subject Guide