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The ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth by Frances…

The ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth (2008)

by Frances Wilson

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I have rarely enjoyed a biography so much. So well written and researched. Fascinated by the relationship between Dorothy and her brother. That, together with the close connection they both had to their natural environment was compelling reading. I was fascinated to read that many people at the time thought that the relationship between Dorothy and William is what inspired the creation of Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. How talented Dorothy was and how cantankerous as she grew older. What an extraordinary character Mary Wordsworth was. Have now got hold of the diaries. Looking forward to reading them and De Quincey's essays. This book is a must! ( )
  GillyG | Oct 19, 2010 |
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She is sitting on a stone when we first meet her, by the shore of Windermere.
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From the book jacket:
From the acclaimed writer Frances Wilson, a new biography of Wordsworth's beloved sister, collaborator and muse.

Often presented as a self-effacing virgin or sacrificial saint, Dorothy Wordsworth was in truth a talented writer and an exceptional woman. Dorothy was Wordsworth's aide, his most valued reader and his inspiration. Described by Thomas De Quincey as the 'very wildest. . . person I have ever known,' she traded in all prospects of marriage and comfort to share in Wordsworth's bohemian world of words. Happily accepting a hand-to-mouth existence, for a time she enjoyed with him a life of intense and uncharted freedom.

In her journals, Dorothy kept a record of their idyllic years together. The tale that unfolds through her brief, lyrical writings reveals a strange, intangible love between brother and sister, culminating in Dorothy's dramatic collapse on the very day of William's wedding. In what sense, if any, was theirs an incestuous affair?

In this groundbreaking biography, Frances Wilson brings Dorothy to life in all her complexity. She uncovers the rich emotional life of the woman who inspired the best poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge: a woman who spent a life in thrall to her brother, suffered the jealousies of a discarded mistress--and eventually descended into madness.
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Frances Wilson, author of the acclaimed 'The Courtesan's Revenge', presents a powerful new biography of Wordsworth's beloved sister, champion and muse. Dorothy's journals reveal a strange, intangible love between brother and sister, culminating in her collapse at his wedding and eventual insanity. Originally published: 2008.… (more)

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