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Recovering Dorothy : The Hidden Life of Dorothy Wordsworth

Atkin, Polly
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Saraband
Published: November 25, 2021
ISBN: 9781913393175
288 pages
Country of publication: United Kingdom


The first book to explore the later life of Dorothy Wordsworth, by a leading scholar of her work.

Dorothy Wordsworth is well-known as the author of the Alfoxden and Grasmere Journals (1798–1803) and as the sister of the poet William Wordsworth. She is praised for her nature writing and as a woman with great physical vitality: someone who could walk long distances, who had great stamina, strength, and a certain wildness. Less well known is that in 1829 Dorothy became seriously ill, and was mostly housebound from 1835. She lived another twenty years after that, outliving her brother by five years.

This book is about the Dorothy we don’t know – disabled, housebound – who makes her sick room into a garden for herself and her pet robin, and who is finally able to call herself a poet. Recovering Dorothy draws on the unpublished journals of her illness to place the whole Dorothy back into her own life story.

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