William Wordsworth: A Life

Stephen Gill, Author Oxford University Press, USA $35 (568p) ISBN 978-0-19-812828-1
Gill, tutor at Lincoln College, Oxford, has availed himself of the mass of recent Wordsworth scholarship, plus the large cache of the poet's family papers discovered in 1977, in producing this solid, intelligent and highly readable biography, which, while not neglecting Wordsworth as solitary visionary, brings out his determination to be an intellectual power in the land. Concentrating on Wordsworth the writer, Gill intersperses sensitive commentary on his poetic oeuvre, giving major attention to The Lyrical Ballads and The Prelude , with a running account of his family life, friendships and travels. His was a life containing much hardship heroically endured. Wordsworth's friendship with Coleridge, which helped inspire his early poetic blaze, gradually went sour; his poetry never earned him a livelihood and for 20 years was widely scorned; and the deaths of some of his closest friends and three of his children were stunning blows. Gill sends us back to the poetry with renewed interest, while enlarging our respect for the poet's rugged commitment to his muse. Illustrations. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 752 pages - 978-0-19-254175-8
Paperback - 552 pages - 978-0-19-282747-0
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