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My Ladys Soul: The Poems of Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall Paperback – 26 Aug 2018
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But she was more than that.
Through her own artwork and poetry, we can look beyond her face and attempt to hear her voice.
A new edition of her poetry has magnified that voice. With access to Siddall’s original manuscripts at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, Dr. Serena Trowbridge gives us a rare look at the evolution of each poem, taking us on a journey that explores each piece as it was originally written, as well as the changes made later by Siddall’s brother-in-law, William Michael Rossetti.
Reading this book felt like a rare and wondrous gift. It is written with an intimacy that drew me in to Siddall’s words, and I dove headfirst into Serena’s keen analysis. She has put Siddall’s work into context and shares details about each poem that have deepened both my respect and understanding for a woman who has long haunted me.
Elizabeth Siddall’s poetry was never published in her lifetime. Years after her death, William Michael Rossetti published versions of them piecemeal, versions I lapped up hungrily in my pursuit of her. What Serena has done here has simultaneously satiated that hunger as well as make me crave more.
Reading this edition once will never be enough.
My Ladys Soul takes its name from a line in one of Siddall’s poems (“I care not for my Ladys soul.”). Serena has preserved it as it was first written, missing apostrophe and all. This is raw, primal Siddall, as real and unflinching as her self-portrait.