13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Read the Journals,
This review is from: The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth (Paperback)
I purchased The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth in order to gain insights into this fascinating woman and her relationships with her brother William, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Hutchinsons. However, the book does a great deal of regurgitation from the journals, and coverage of her life outside this period is relatively superficial. Furthermore, some of Frances Wilson's observations are reductive, for example, implying that Dorothy's wonderfully impressionistic descriptions are "turning into lists". She also has a highly individualistic perspective: "In her own relationship with William", she writes, "...Dorothy is herself a sad fiddle faddler." (p125) This is in fact Dorothy's own description of Sarah Coleridge in respect of her children, whom she describes as "to be sure a sad fiddle faddler." (The Letters of William & Dorothy Wordsworth, The Early Years, 1787-1805, ed. Chester L. Shaver - Oxford 1967, p330). If you want to get really close to Dorothy Wordsworth, read her Grasmere Journals and your own insights will serve you better.