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Thomas Love Peacock

b. 1785 d. 1866

Thomas Love Peacock is probably best known today for his hilarious Nightmare Abbey, which cheerfully satirizes the interest of contemporary literature in morbid subjects and gothic settings.

Thomas Wyatt

b. 1503 d. 1542

Thomas Wyatt was born in 1504. His father was a Lancastrian, imprisoned and tortured near the end of the Wars of the Roses in the reign of Richard III, then promoted to high office by Henry VII.

W. E. B. DuBois

b. 1868 d. 1963

Sociologist, civil rights campaigner, historian, Harvard graduate, anti-war activist, academic, essayist, novelist, communist and, of course, poet, W.E.B.

W. E. Henley

b. 1849 d. 1903

‘Invictus’ has ensured that Henley is a significant Victorian literary figure, but the phenomenal popularity of this one poem has perhaps led to the neglect of his other work.

W. H. Davies

b. 1871 d. 1940

The Welsh poet William Henry Davies wrote the poem ‘Leisure’, which famously begins:‘What is this life if, full of care,/We have no time to stand and stare.’

Walt Whitman

b. 1819 d. 1892

At various times, Walt Whitman was a teacher, a journalist, a government official and a clerk. He also spent a significant period in his life working in the hospitals of the American Civil War, and witnessed the acute suffering of casualties.

Walter Raleigh

b. 1552 d. 1618

As a successful military adventurer and explorer, author and poet, Ralegh was a significant figure in the court of Queen Elizabeth I.

Walter Scott

b. 1771 d. 1832

Born in Edinburgh, and trained as a lawyer, Walter Scott became an internationally popular poet, playwright and novelist.

Wilfred Owen

b. 1893 d. 1918

The poems that made Wilfred Owen famous were mostly published after his death in action a week before the end of the First World War.

William Barnes

b. 1801 d. 1866

William Barnes was a Dorset‑dialect poet and artist.

William Blake

b. 1757 d. 1827

William Blake was born in London in 1757 and spent most of his long life there.

William Butler Yeats

b. 1865 d. 1939

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) stands at the turning point between the Victorian period and Modernism, the conflicting currents of which affected his poetry.

William Cowper

b. 1731 d. 1800

William Cowper was a popular poet and writer of hymns. His descriptions of everyday life in the English countryside changed nature writing in the eighteenth century, in many ways preparing the ground for poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge.

William Shakespeare

b. 1564 d. 1616

Little is known about Shakespeare's life.

William Wordsworth

b. 1770 d. 1850

Wordsworth was born at Cockermouth, Cumbria, in 1770, the son of an attorney.