William Wordsworth: A Life (Oxford Lives S)

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9780192827470: William Wordsworth: A Life (Oxford Lives S)
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At the age of twenty-eight, William Wordsworth had neither a settled income nor the professional qualifications needed to secure one. He had no home, and he could not support the illegitimate child he had fathered during an impetuous love affair in France. The total sum of his achievements since he had left Cambridge consisted of one slim, anonymously issued volume of Lyrical Ballads. Recognition came slowly, but by age seventy, he was revered as a cultural icon, the Poet Laureate of England, and the most celebrated native of the Lake Country.
Based on an intimate knowledge of the poet's manuscripts, on a fresh assessment of contemporary records, and a careful analysis of a wealth of new research, this vividly written volume presents the first serious biography of Wordsworth to appear in over twenty-five years. Stephen Gill, a leading authority on Wordsworth, reveals that, in many ways, this giant of English literature led a heroic life. Despite critical condemnation, numbing blows from the death of friends and family, including three of his own children, and his inability to earn a living as a writer in his early years, his dedication to his art did not waver. Moreover, Gill corrects the image of the older Wordsworth as a stodgy betrayer of his radical youth. While his politics certainly did change, and his poetic power waned from 1799 almost to his death in 1850, Wordsworth single-mindedly shaped his own life in submission to a power of imagination whose importance he never doubted.
Offering unparalleled insight into Wordsworth's poetic achievement, Gill illuminates what was most essential to Wordsworth himself: his life as a writer.

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About the Author:


Stephen Gill is Fellow and Tutor of Lincoln College, Oxford University. He is the editor of the Oxford Authors William Wordsworth.

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"In his fine new biography of Wordsworth, Stephen Gill...paints a fresh and moving portrait of the poet....He tells his story in a compact prose that is blessedly free of jargon and rich in detail."--The New York Times Book Review


"Excellent....This is the kind of biography which any writer would be delighted to inspire, let alone to deserve. Stephen Gill detects the underlying direction and momentum of Wordsworth's life, tracing through the impulses of diurnal reality the permanent being of the man."--The Times (London)


"Gill...is superbly equipped to write the first full-scale biography of the poet in twenty-five years. Since the second volume of Mary Moorman's richly detailed account appeared in 1965, a whole generation of scholars has transformed the study of Wordsworth, and Gill has been at or near the center of this revolution....An indispensable book."--The Bloomsbury Review


"[A] solid, intelligent, and highly readable biography....Gill sends us back to the poetry with renewed interest, while enlarging our respect for the poet's rugged commitment to his muse."--Publishers Weekly


"Gill does a superb job of interrelating the life and work of this particularly autobiographical poet."--Library Journal


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 1990. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Based on intimate knowledge of the poet s manuscripts, on a fresh look at contemporary records, and on a study of the mass of material that has appeared since the last serious biography, a quarter-century ago, this new account of Wordsworth focuses on what was most important to him - his life as a writer. The common notion is that the older Wordsworth betrayed his youthful, radical self to become a prosy Tory bore. By contrast, this intelligent and authoritative biography demonstrates that once the poet had returned to the Lake District, determined to live dedicated to poetry at whatever cost, his life took on a unity and purpose it had previously lacked. His politics certainly changed, and his poetic power waned, but from 1799 almost until his death in 1850, Wordsworth single-mindedly shaped his own life in submission to an imaginative possession whose importance he never doubted. It was, in its way, a heroic life. Wordsworth suffered numbing blows from the death of friends and family, including three of his own children. Critics reviled his poetry for over twenty years, and he never made enough money by his pen to live on - unlike his dear friend Scott. Yet his dedication to his art did not waver. In middle age he knew that contemporaries valued him as a moral sage; in old age he suffered the embarrassment of being a cultural icon. The lucid narrative that Stephen Gill draws out is the story of that hard-won triumph: its purpose is to bring readers back freshly to poetry that is full of human understanding and experience, and a tested, sober faith in Man s unconquerable mind . Seller Inventory # LIO9780192827470

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 1990. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Based on intimate knowledge of the poet s manuscripts, on a fresh look at contemporary records, and on a study of the mass of material that has appeared since the last serious biography, a quarter-century ago, this new account of Wordsworth focuses on what was most important to him - his life as a writer. The common notion is that the older Wordsworth betrayed his youthful, radical self to become a prosy Tory bore. By contrast, this intelligent and authoritative biography demonstrates that once the poet had returned to the Lake District, determined to live dedicated to poetry at whatever cost, his life took on a unity and purpose it had previously lacked. His politics certainly changed, and his poetic power waned, but from 1799 almost until his death in 1850, Wordsworth single-mindedly shaped his own life in submission to an imaginative possession whose importance he never doubted. It was, in its way, a heroic life. Wordsworth suffered numbing blows from the death of friends and family, including three of his own children. Critics reviled his poetry for over twenty years, and he never made enough money by his pen to live on - unlike his dear friend Scott. Yet his dedication to his art did not waver. In middle age he knew that contemporaries valued him as a moral sage; in old age he suffered the embarrassment of being a cultural icon. The lucid narrative that Stephen Gill draws out is the story of that hard-won triumph: its purpose is to bring readers back freshly to poetry that is full of human understanding and experience, and a tested, sober faith in Man s unconquerable mind . Seller Inventory # LIO9780192827470

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