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Charlotte Mew: and Her Friends Paperback – 24 Apr 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; New Ed edition (24 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007142749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007142743
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘A perceptive, witty biography. A marvel and a curiosity … reads like a Thomas Hardy novel’ The Times

‘Everyone says you can’t write the biography of a genius. Penelope Fitzgerald has … and she has managed to present Charlotte Mew with such subtlety that you feel you’ve read her work, even if you haven’t’ The Times

‘Absorbing … full of insight and sympathy and mellow humour’ Observer

‘Wise and ironic, funny and humane, Fitzgerald is a wonderful, wonderful writer.’ David Nicholls

‘The heartbreaking story, beautifully told, of a hitherto underestimated poet. Tantalizing but touching, an entire life’s emotional history in a short space.’ Victoria Glendinning, Sunday Times

‘A subtle, succinct, generous biography.’ Hilary Spurling, Evening Standard

About the Author

Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most elegant and distinctive voices in British fiction. Three of her novels, The Bookshop, The Beginning of Spring and The Gate of Angels have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She won the Prize in 1979 for Offshore. Her last novel, The Blue Flower, was the most admired novel of 1995, chosen no fewer than nineteen times in the press as the ‘Book of the Year’. It won America’s National Book Critics’ Circle Award. She died in April 2000, at the age of eighty-three.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I saw one poem of Charlotte Mew's in the Guardian one Saturday. I could not place her. She seemed at once to be stark and modern yet sentimentally Victorian. I bought this book as I could not get her off my mind. This book tells the story of Charlotte, a bundle of contradictions and her unique genius. It is a tragic tale, to be sure but also an uplifting and tender one. Clearly she had many faults and foibles and struggled to cope with the world of early 20th Century London and its Literary Circles. Penelope Fitzgerald is a great story teller and a perceptive and sympathetic biographer. She is honest about the meagre sources for many parts of the story and yet she conveys a lively and truthful continuity despite the enigmatic disposition of her subject. It reads as well as any novel.
The second part of the book contains a good body of Charlotte's work and it is lovely to have it there to flick to as you read the story of how a particular poem was wrought.If the mark of a good poem is that its images stay with you then Charlotte Mew was a very good poet indeed.I have a yard full of white geraniums to witness that fact!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought this was such a beautifully-written, loving portrait of a remarkable woman and brilliant poet. Why do people not know her work today? This biographical work, with verses and lines from the poems embedded in it and with a good selection of them as an appendix, provides a superb introduction to her deeply troubled yet dignified life and work. What a discovery for me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was my first experience of reading Fitzgerald's non fiction and I was not disappointed. It was highly engaging, I felt like I was wondering London with 'Miss Lotti'. Fitzgerald's title, 'and friends' is apt as she unashamedly spends time developing the many fascinating individuals that knew and supported Charlotte and her sister throughout their too short lives. It showed how very tough life can be for women but also those men who are dedicated to a creative life. Being a keen reader of many of the writers mentioned in here thank goodness they have made those sacrifices but frankly I'll keep my central heating and day job!
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Format: Paperback
One of the most evocative, and most moving, biographies I have ever read. It ought to serve as a model for all those who feel they have to give every turgid detail about their subjects' lives, and throw in a bit of Freudian analysis on the side. Fitzgerald is far too respectful of Mew, and perhaps of the mysteries of human character in general, to go in for neat explanations of her oddities. Yet by creating her, however reticently, as a character, she leaves us with a more vivid and haunting sense of her than five hundred pages of facts would have done. Her loving portrayal of the Monros is itself worth the price of the book.
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