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William Wordsworth, rev Paperback – April 25, 1997

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Editorial Reviews


"An admirable enterprise." -- The London Times

"Thorough and painstaking, with a deep and genuine feeling for Wordsworth and the Lake District." -- The Daily Mail

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Sutton Publishing (April 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750914823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750914826
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,268,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
Davies has written a very good book. The book is intelligent, fair and kind and thorough. It seems that all the major relationships of Wordsworth's life are carefully described. Relationships with his sister, Dorothy; his wife, Mary Hutchinson; his French amour Annette Villon and their daughter are all carefully desribed. His brothers, his children, Coleridge, Robert Southey, Walter Scott are all part of his life, and insightfully presented in the book. Davies writes well about the Lake district, and Wordsworth's business dealings. It is a good, solid, well- rounded portrayal of Wordsworth. The poetry is not analyzed, but introduced and placed in the context of the poet's life. At the end, I liked Wordsworth very much and will be happy to read more of his poetry. I would give the book 4 1/2 stars if it were possible.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
This disappointing and tedious book about Wordsworth's life and times lacks insight and warmth. The author is a dabbler whose books' topics include fiction, the Beatles, and a hiker's guide to the Lakes District. The current book grew out of the author's research for his hiking guide, when he discovered that there was no other detailed, non-academic Wordsworth biography. In essence, the book is a calculated business venture rather than an expression of the author's interest in,knowledge of, or love for Wordsworth. To his credit, the author is frank about these facts, although his uninspired text could not have hidden them. The book is flawed by unnecessary and uninsightful speculation on the one hand and on the other by a general lack of sensitivity to the profound beauty of Wordsworth's work. The author's narrative style is dry, lifeless and uninspired, and Americans will be particularly put off by its distinctly British flavor, which can only be regarded as a provincial flaw in a book offered to general readers in the global market. Spelling, word choice, turn of phrase, and the assumed context are so distinctly British as to leave American readers feeling that they are overhearing a joke which they do not quite understand. Many Americans will find the book inaccessible for this reason. A much better choice is Penelope Hughes-Hallett's "Home At Grasmere", which is warm, sensitive and well written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on May 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Hunter Davies set out to write a popular biography of Wordsworth. He indicates at the outset that this is not going to be a work of literary criticism, that it is not going to focus on the development of Wordsworth's poetry.
This present work nonetheless in helping the reader understand Wordsworth the person, also helps us understand Wordsworth the Poet.
Wordsworth was orphaned from his father at the age of eight, and from his mother at the age of thirteen. He was supported by relatives who did not approve of his behavior as a child and young person. He was exceptionally independent and often rebellious child.
When his mother died he was separated from his siblings. Only at the age of seventeen did he come to see them all together again. And here began one of the most significant relationships of his life, with his sister Dorothy. She would be for him the companion of his youthful years, the great souled fellow explorer of nature and inspirer of his Poetry. She would remain even after he married Mary Hutchinson a central figure in his everyday life. For the last twenty years of that life Wordsworth and his wife cared for her. This after she had lost her mind and sat all day in her wheelchair.
One important theme that runs through this work concerns Wordsworth as family man, as good brother, as faithful loving husband, as caring father.
Wordsworth 's life too has important friendships at its center. The greatest and most creatively important is with Coleridge. Davies tells the story of their work together on 'The Lyrical Ballads', and of the many years they were close. Coleridge had a central role in recognizing and promoting his friend's genius. It may well even be that Coleridge feeling Wordsworth the far greater poet ceased writing poetry of his own because of this.
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