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The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth: A Life

Frances Wilson.
Publisher FSG  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 8.5 x 5.75 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780374108670
Pages/Publication Date 316/2009
Daedalus Item Code 20440
This item is not available.
Described by the writer and opium addict Thomas de Quincey as "the very wildest ... person I have ever known," Dorothy Wordsworth is neither a self-effacing spinster nor a sacrificial saint in this remarkably perceptive biography from the author of Literary Seductions and The Courtesan's Revenge. A brilliant stylist in her own right, Dorothy was at the center of the Romantic movement of the early 19th century, her brother William Wordsworth's inspiration, aide, and most valued reader, and a friend to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, both of whom borrowed from her observations of the world. In order to remain at her brother's side, Dorothy gave up both marriage and comfort, jealously guarding their close-knit domesticity—one marked by a startling freedom from social convention. The tale that unfolds through her brief, electric journal entries reveals an intense bond between brother and sister, culminating in Dorothy's dramatic collapse on the day of William's wedding to their childhood friend Mary Hutchinson.

"[The author has] written a succinct yet roomy book, one that moves along with novelistic buoyancy and grace. She gets the facts-to-fancy ratio, always a difficult one for a biographer to weigh, exactly right. She lays out the essentials of Dorothy Wordsworth's life like a well-orchestrated banquet, leaving no doubt that the resonating years 1800–3 are the bravura main course.... Ms. Wilson strides purposefully through Wordsworth's intoxicating life, quibbling when needed with earlier biographers, poking into every bit of tangled brush, triangulating her subject's life through the work of many other writers, some of them contemporary. The range of this biographer's references is wide, and wickedly inclusive. One chapter begins with a quotation from the political-punk band Gang of Four: 'This heaven gives me migraine.' This book, its own kind of heaven, gave me quite the opposite."—NYTimes

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The English Opium-Eater: A Biography of Thomas de Quincey
Robert Morrison.
Publisher: Pegasus.   Format: hardcover. ISBN: 9781605981321.  Daedalus Item Code: 22241
List Price: $35.00 Sale Price: $7.98 $5.98 You Save: $29.02
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