William and Dorothy Wordsworth: 'All in each other' Reprint Edition
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"[I]t is beautifully written and contains everything an enthusiast of either or both Wordsworths would wish to know about their lives and work; beginners and more advanced readers alike will prosper by it. Would that it had been available to me when I first began to read Wordsworth." -- Duncan Wu, Literary Review
"Newlyn provides an illuminating and extensively researched study of the relationship of the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and his sister Dorothy (1771-1855). The impressive list of primary materials Newlyn culled from includes Dorothy's journals, William's memoirs and classic works, and letters between the siblings. One of the book's most admirable elements is how Newlyn gives equal weight to her subjects' writings...This unparalleled examination of the Wordsworth siblings makes this title an essential addition to English literature collections." --Library Journal
"Best known today for her lyrical journals recording travels with her brother, Dorothy was central to William's creative process, to the extent that William called her "one of the two Beings to whom my intellect is most indebted"....Newlyn offers a valuable corrective to existing Wordsworth criticism and a moving testimonial to the power of creativity and community." --Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Lucy Newlyn was born in Uganda, grew up in Leeds, and read English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She is now Professor of English Language and Literature at Oxford University, and a Fellow of St Edmund Hall. She has published widely on English Romantic Literature, including three books with Oxford University Press, and The Cambridge Companion to Coleridge. Her book Reading Writing and Romanticism: The Anxiety of Reception won the British Academy's Rose Mary Crawshay prize in 2001. More recently she has been working on the prose writings of Edward Thomas. Together with Guy Cuthbertson she edited Branch-Lines: Edward Thomas and Contemporary Poetry, as well as England and Wales, a volume in the ongoing OUP edition of Thomas's prose. Married with a daughter and two step-children, Lucy Newlyn lives in Oxford. Ginnel, her first collection of poetry, was published in 2005: she is currently working on her second.
- Item Weight : 1.31 pounds
- ISBN-10 : 019872814X
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0198728146
- Dimensions : 9.2 x 0.9 x 6.1 inches
- Publisher : Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (November 14, 2016)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,392,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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However, I have been rewarded by William and Dorothy Wordsworth: 'All in each other' Lucy Newlyn's latest book explores the creative relationship between William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy. I will never teach William Wordsworth the same again because of my newly (pun intended) acquired knowledge of the depth and richness of the Wordsworths' partnership as presented by Prof. Newlyn. (Professor of Language and Literature at St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford)
Read "Daffodils." Then read Newlyn's book pages 156ff, the end of Chapter 8,"The Grasmere Journal" for a detailed picture of how William employed Dorothy's journal (that she never intended to publish). Then turn to page 85 in The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals (Oxford World's Classics) for Dorothy's description of the lakeside daffodils the hikers saw during their sojourn in April of 1802. Prof. Newlyn demonstrates that the journal is the seedbed of William's most famous poem published in two years later in 1804.
Brother and sister are described in a richly detailed tapestry as devoted to one another for 50 years. Theirs is a journey that commences as the re-creation a family destroyed by the deaths of first mother and then father. Far from the silly hints at some sort of dark, erotic secret life, the Wordsworth partnership was spiritual and emotional effort of mutual support. The truth presented by Newlyn is that William Wordsworth was a deeply committed family man who was at one and the same time creative partner, brother, husband (Mary Hutchinson 1802), and father. His creative genius was enabled and empowered through and with his sister. They were true partners.
This is a radically different picture than that which usually painted of the famed Romantic poet. William Wordsworth was not a cold, remote, cerebrally-oriented recluse. He was a family man who was also a famed poet, perhaps the most famous of the period. And yet, in the final decades of Dorothy's life, when she was incapacitated by arteriosclerosis and stricken by dementia, William cared for his sister stimulating her mind with recitations of the very poetry that was the fruit of their joint labors. In my mind no greater tribute can be give to their partnership and proof of William's valuation of Dorothy's contributions.
To my reader: If you fancy yourself a student of British Romantic poetry, do yourself a favor, buy Lucy Newlyn's book. Reward yourself with the fruits of her labor. You will never read (or teach) Wordsworth in the same fashion again.
Close examination of William's poetry and prose and Dorothy's own poetry and prose makes it clear that they sparked ideas off each other and much of the work attributed to William alone could be more accurately described as a joint effort. Many of the surviving notebooks contain entries from both of them and they wrote letters to friends together. Coleridge seems to have regarded Dorothy as an intellectual equal and someone whose help with his own compositions he was far from despising.
I found this book an interesting read. I studied 'Lyrical Ballads' - that famous work of co-operation between Wordsworth and Coleridge at school and enjoyed the poetry of both of them so it was interesting to read more about Wordsworth's life with Dorothy. This is a fascinating study of the poetry and prose of both William and Dorothy as well as their travels in the UK and on the continent with family and friends. The book contains a section of photographic illustrations as well as line drawings resembling woodcuts at the start and end of each chapter. There is an index, a bibliography and comprehensive notes on each chapter.
Top reviews from other countries
Newlyn uses insights from various disciplines ~ psychology, philosophy, ecology for example ~ to brilliantly illuminate the unique relationship between the Wordsworth siblings, and their literary concerns. Without ever resorting to literary polemics, she delicately but firmly dismisses sexually reductionist interpretations of the former, and instead convincingly affirms the therapeutic dimension of their creative relationship. This is a study which has profound implications for the way we will now view, not only the literary genius of William, but the writings of Dorothy too. A book that will reward continuous revisitings, it contains chapters of some of the most inspired Wordsworth criticism in the language.
For a vivid and absorbing account of their relationship from Dorothy's perspective I would recommend Frances Wilson's, 'The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth', .