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The Resource The ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth : a life, Frances Wilson

The ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth : a life, Frances Wilson

Label
The ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth : a life
Title
The ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth
Title remainder
a life
Statement of responsibility
Frances Wilson
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Writing style
Review
  • This sensitive and elegantly written life of Dorothy Wordsworth (1771–1855), sister of the poet William Wordsworth, centers on four small notebooks, her so-called Grasmere Journals. These journals reveal how William functioned as Dorothy's male muse and how she, more traditionally, was his. What is most untraditional, and certainly peculiar, is the not-quite-stated true relationship between brother and sister. Commentators and biographers describe Dorothy Wordsworth as having virtually no inner life, existing solely for and through her brother. Yet, Wilson relates, the opium-eater De Quincey found her a most sensuous creature; she was a big part of William's friendship with Coleridge as well. First teasing out Dorothy's truly rich interior life through careful examination of the journals and other writings, Wilson (Literary Seductions ) then uncovers the nature of Dorothy's emotional connections to William, his work, his wife and even the French mistress he had as a younger man. Most controversial in the Grasmere Journals are several blotted lines regarding William's wedding ring—which Dorothy wore to sleep the night before the wedding. These lines, as well as Dorothy's visionary tendencies, her migraines and trances, almost of an epileptic nature, and a long depressive decline are scrupulously analyzed. 31 illus. (Feb. 24) --Staff (Reviewed October 13, 2008) (Publishers Weekly, vol 255, issue 41, p43)
  • Wilson continues her examination of the fraught terrain where sex and literature meet (Literary Seductions, 2000, etc.) in a bleak biography of the celebrated poet's unmarried sister.Dorothy Wordsworth (1771–1855) shared the home, the vision, the language, the life and—at least upon occasion, it seems—the bed of her brother William (1770–1850), devoting herself to his art and comfort. Wilson begins with one of the oddest moments in literary history, the morning of William's 1802 marriage, when he went into his sister's bedroom to retrieve the wedding ring she had worn all night. The author will return to this incident from a new perspective in the final pages, but initially she moves back to proceed in fairly chronological fashion, quoting liberally from the principals' papers and commenting on the Wordsworths' relationship with others, principally Samuel Taylor Coleridge. (Wilson sees an almost psychic connection between Coleridge and Dorothy, both of whom William in a sense betrayed.) The text focuses largely on Dorothy's Grasmere Journals, kept during her sojourn in the Lake Country with William from 1800 to 1803, which Wilson judges as evidence that the poet's sister was "one of our finest nature writers." William's marriage to Mary Hutchinson was traumatic, but Dorothy honeymooned with the couple and lived with them for the rest of her days, which were darkened from the 1830s on by mental illness. Wilson veers occasionally into uncertain terrain. Though it might be wiser to eschew contemporary medical and psychological analyses of 200-year-old somatic illnesses and relationships, the undaunted author quotes Oliver Sacks on migraines and diagnoses elderly Dorothy with "depressive pseudodementia." Wilson frequently summarizes the research of others, then declares it inadequate, wrong, biased. Scholars will find it difficult to locate documentation for such assertions or simply to check contexts for quotations: The author provides no endnotes, just an appended "bibliographic essay." Still, much of her well-researched text is graceful, perceptive and poignant.An often lyrical ballad with some superfluous, unmelodious stanzas. (Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2008)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
293531
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1964-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Wilson, Frances
Dewey number
  • 828/.703
  • B
Index
index present
LC call number
PR5849
LC item number
.W55 2009
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Wordsworth, Dorothy
  • Wordsworth, William
  • Authors, English
  • Women and literature
Target audience
adult
Label
The ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth : a life, Frances Wilson
Instantiates
Publication
Note
"Originally published in 2008 by Faber and Faber Limited, Great Britain"--Title page verso
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
23 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
316 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates
Isbn
9780374108670
Lccn
2008041263
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
2008041263
Label
The ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth : a life, Frances Wilson
Publication
Note
"Originally published in 2008 by Faber and Faber Limited, Great Britain"--Title page verso
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
23 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
316 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates
Isbn
9780374108670
Lccn
2008041263
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
2008041263

Library Locations

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      37.377573 -76.770995
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