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Wordsworth came up to St John's College, Cambridge in 1787. He began his academic career with obvious advantages: talent, the grounding given at his school - which had scored notable successes at Cambridge - useful connections and the incentive to success given by his lack of means and the expectations of his family. Before long it became clear that he had altogether rejected the course of studies leading to academic honours. It was, Schneider argues, a most significant decision in effect, though the young poet was not at first fully aware of having made it: it was a turning away from what Cambridge represented at the time, a rejection of a whole system of beliefs and attitudes about the world, man, society and art. This book is important for students of Wordsworth; but it also examines certain central features of eighteenth-century intellectual and social life and will be valuable to general students of English literature, history and education.