A stunning example of a happy marriage between fecund imagination and devoted scholarship.



A full-immersion exploration of two great poets at the end of the 18th century, a time that ended with the publication of their Lyrical Ballads.

In his latest, Somerset Maugham Award winner Nicolson (The Seabird's Cry: The Lives and Loves of the Planet's Great Ocean Voyagers, 2018, etc.) provides an astonishingly rich re-creation of the months that the Wordsworths and Coleridges lived near each other in southwest England. The author tells us how they met, how they ended up living there, and how they spent their hours and days (lots of walking and talking) when both of them would write some of their most celebrated works—Coleridge: “Kubla Khan” and “Cristabel”; Wordsworth: “Tintern Abbey.” Nicolson also reminds us continually of the women in the writers’ lives: Wordsworth’s sister, Dorothy, a crucial companion who suggested ideas; Coleridge’s wife, Sara, who wasn’t as much a part of the literary excitement. We also see the emerging—and then diverging—poetical attitudes of the two principals and their eventual separation. Nicolson, like Richard Holmes—to whom he pays tribute early in the volume—not only read the works of Wordsworth and Coleridge and conducted library research; he moved to the region and enjoyed the same nature walks, becoming extremely familiar with the woods and water. Periodically, he offers his own lyrical paragraphs about the terrain—about what it was like in 1797 and what it’s like now. This reflects the author’s deep commitment to the project and diligence in trying to truly understand these men and their writing. He also quotes and expatiates upon hundreds of lines of poetry, dives into their letters, and tells stories about some of their notable visitors (young William Hazlitt was smitten by Coleridge). Nicolson’s passion sometimes leads him to suggest that all of this has been consequential for how we think and imagine today.

A stunning example of a happy marriage between fecund imagination and devoted scholarship.

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-20021-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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