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The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth

Frances Wilson

The prize-winning biography of Wordsworth’s beloved sister, champion, muse who was at the heart of the Romantic movement in Britain – reissued to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Dorothy’s birth.

8 in stock

£10.99
Format
Paperback
ISBN
9780571366231
Date Published
04.03.2021
Delivery
All orders are sent via Royal Mail and are tracked: choose from standard or premium delivery.
Summary

The prize-winning biography of Wordsworth’s beloved sister, champion, muse who was at the heart of the Romantic movement in Britain – reissued to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Dorothy’s birth.

‘Genius … Its own kind of heaven.’ New York Times

‘A most beautiful, deep, and humble study of incredibly complex people.’ Oliver Sacks

Dorothy Wordsworth is an enigma. William’s beloved sister was his muse, champion, and most valued reader. She is mythologised as a self-effacing spinster and saintly amanuensis, yet Thomas De Quincey described her as ‘all fire and ardour’.

Dorothy sacrificed a traditional life to share in her brother’s world of words. In her Grasmere Journals, she vividly recorded their intimate life together in the Lake District, marked by a startling freedom from social convention. The tale that unfolds in her brief, electric entries reveals an intense bond between siblings, culminating in Dorothy’s collapse on William’s wedding day – after which the woman who once strode the hills in all weathers retreated inside the house for the last three decades of her life.

In her magisterial biography, Frances Wilson uses the compressed emotion of Dorothy’s journals to evoke the rich interior world of a woman determined to live on her own terms – one who deserves her own place in the history of the Romantic movement.

‘Intelligent and intriguing … A portrait of a peculiar, passionate, yet meticulous woman which is hauntingly strange.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Passion is the keynote of Wilson’s fine biography … Brims with the personality of [an] extraordinary woman … Thrilling.’ Sunday Times

‘This beautiful, wise biography draws Dorothy from her hiding places. She emerges as a passionate figure.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Gripping … Bold, witty, scholarly and speculative.’ Margaret Drabble

Critic Reviews

Genius ... Moves with novelistic buoyancy and grace ... Its own kind of heaven.

New York Times
Critic Reviews

Passion is the keynote of Wilson's fine biography ... Brims with the personality of [an] extraordinary woman ... Thrilling.

Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

Intelligent and intriguing ... A portrait of a peculiar, passionate, yet meticulous woman which is hauntingly strange.

Sunday Telegraph
Critic Reviews

This beautiful, wise biography draws Dorothy from her hiding places. She emerges as a passionate figure.

Daily Telegraph
Critic Reviews

A most beautiful, deep, and humble study of incredibly complex people.

Critic Reviews

Gripping ... Bold, witty, scholarly and speculative.

FrancesWilson

Frances Wilson is the author of Literary Seductions, which was praised by Alain de Botton as ‘psychologically rich and wise’, and The Courtesan’s Revenge, which was described as “a wonderful biography … Witty and sharp’ by Jane Ridley in the Spectator. She lives in London with her daughter.

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FrancesWilson