DOROTHY AND WILLIAM WORDSWORTH: The Heart of a Circle of Friends by Seon Manley

DOROTHY AND WILLIAM WORDSWORTH: The Heart of a Circle of Friends

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It would take, at the very least, a pre-existing admiration for Wordsworth's verse and sensibility to make one entirely comfortable with this genteel, literary portrait of the poet and sister Dorothy, whose lifelong companionship is extolled here as an ideal, mutually supportive relationship. Manley pictures William and Dorothy's joint nature walks as idyllic, which they must have been, and certainly the three-way friendship Dorothy and William shared with Coleridge is among the most important associations in the history of English literature. However, Manley's assertion that Dorothy's journals are one of the ""great literary treasures of all times"" is not borne out for us by the selections she includes here, and despite the inclusion of singular descriptions by De Quincey and other family visitors, Wordsworth himself is inadequately characterized -- his much praised warmth apparently contradicted by such enigmatic statements as ""Wordsworth, of course, was fascinated by his children who sometimes seemed to him to be words in a poem."" A pleasant, empathetic memoir, couched in a style more suitable for a less energetic generation of readers.

Pub Date: June 14th, 1974
Page count: 242pp
Publisher: Vanguard