William Wordsworth: An Illustrated Selection Paperback – Illustrated, 1 Dec 1987
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The most scholarly and up-to-date book on Wordsworth... His judgement and interests are eminently sensible and show a full picture of Wordsworth. (Nikolai Tolstoy, Daily Mail)
Impressive new Clarendon biography ...William Wordsworth: A Life is every inch the new definitive work. Gill has taken full account of Wordsworth studies in the past 30 years, blended the new materials with the old, and come out with a book that is scholarly, readable, likely to last. (Jonathan Wordsworth, Sunday Times)
excellent biography of Wordsworth ... Gill is master of the very extensive primary and secondary sources, and a particular expert on the manuscripts, which the poet subjected to constant revision. (William Scammell, The Listener)
not least among the virtues of this excellent biography is the way in which Stephen Gill balances the inner against the external man ... This is the kind of biography which any writer would be delighted to inspire, let alone deserve ... it is a measure of the significance of this biography that its seriousness matches that of Wordsworth itself. (Peter Ackroyd, The Times)
all stolid good sense (Blake Morrison, The Bookseller)
thorough, scholarly biography (Anthony Powell, Weekend Telegraph)
Stephen Gill's new biography ... is enormously well-informed and avoids extravagant speculation, ... It provides an entertaining, shrewd, and manageably-sized narrative of Wordsworth's life (Peter Swaab, Sunday Telegraph)
Stephen Gill's admirable biography ... it succeeds, where such biographies often fail, in transforming the life into the work by actively exploring, not avoiding, the complex problems that Wordsworth's self-account presents to his biographer. (London Review of Books)
lively, painstaking book (Archie Hind, Glasgow Herald)
thorough, scholarly biography (Anthony Powell, Daily Telegraph)
Gill has already proved himself as an editor of Wordsworth's manuscripts and now turns that research to elegant profit. (Anthony Lane, Independent)
It is difficult to see how a biography of Wordsworth could be enthralling, but Stephen Gill has made his so. This densely particularised and humane biography returns us anew to the poet's questions with an inwardness and sympathy few previous writers have displayed. (Isobel Armstrong, Southampton University, TES)
This is the kind of biography which any writer would be delighted to inspire, let alone to deserve ... it is a measure of the significance of this biography that its seriousness matches that of Wordsworth himself. (Peter Ackroyd, The Times)
the first comprehensive biography of Wordsworth since Mary Moorman's 30 years ago (Blake Morrison, Observer)
not many biographies are so admirably devoid of pretentiousness, silliness, and banality (Chloe Chard, Weekend Financial Times)
in Stephen Gill's monumental work, exacting, controlled, measured and profound, we have a moving portrait of a great poet the confirming of whose reputation has been substantially advanced by Gill's scholarship and judgment. (Bruce Arnold, Irish Independent)
Gill is an immensely learned, scrupulous and judicious guide ... It is a mark of a good biography that the peripheral figures - the friends and acquaintances - are brought to life by a few swift, bold strokes ... A new biography of Wordworth was certainly needed, and this one will be an indispensable companion for Lake Poet enthusiasts. Its insights are astute and its choice of quotation excellent; it could not have condensed more information into a single volume, yet it never becomes a mere procession of facts ... this volume is fluent and comprehensive. (Jonathan Bate, Country Life)
a large, very readable study by Oxford scholar Stephen Gill who makes use of much fresh material (Michael Field, The Star)
admirable biography (London Review of Books)
thorough and scholarly biography ... Many books have been on Wordsworth, but this one takes a fresh look at contemporary records and the mass of material which has been unearthed since the last serious biography, a quarter-of-a-century ago. (John Hurst, Cumberland & Westmorland Herald)
What Gill has done, very well, is to match the poetry to the poet's development. Gill, with his illuminating extracts, saves us from our own ignorance. (Anthony Hern, London Evening Standard)
this biography clears new and central ground for future academic revaluations of the poet and his work ... It renders Wordsworth newly accessible and calls attention to his reciprocal relation to, and profound effects on, the national life. (New York Times Book Review)
a lovingly told story (Christopher Hall, The Countryman)
a thorough and detailed study of Wordsworth's life in relation to the poetry ... Gill is a thoughtful critic as well as a careful biographer ... sympathetic study (J. B. Pick, The Scotsman)
When dealing with politics or family matters Gill can be very shrewd, and especially so in his subtle account of the growing strains between Wordsworth and Coleridge after 1800. And on textual matters Gill writes with an authority well beyond that of any previous biographer. Many of his poetry discussions are first rate, sensitive and illuminating. (Norman Fruman, Times Literary Supplement)
an eminently accessible as well as definitive study of the poet's life (Sunday Times)
not a general biography of the Great Lakes poet, nor is it merely a critique of his work ... It is an authoritative and readable study ... of Wordsworth's writing in an effort to lay bare the poet's life as a writer of poetry "full of human understanding and experience." ... a fascinating and enlightening study ... few will deny it's value in bringing the man and his work into fresh perspective (Evelyn Holtzhausen. Cape Times)
This isn't a critical book ... and discussion of the poetry is carefully fused with Wordsworth's self-discussion. ... this biography is good value ... Always well-written, it wears its substantial scholarship lightly (Simon Petch. Sydney Morning Herald)
Stephen Gill ... has written what must now be the definitive biography ... a multitudinous life about which, even after reading this thorough and admirable biography we still wish we knew more. (David Parkin, Yorkshire Post)
a model literary biography (Bernard Bergonzi, The Tablet)
compendious new biography of William Wordsworth ... solidly constructed (Chicago Tribune)
the biography is both scholarly and readable ... If William Wordsworth: A Life brings new readers to the poems or old readers back it will have succeeded admirably in its aim. (Peter Dyson, University of Toronto, The Globe and Mail)
Gill has peformed a remarkable act of revisionary scholarship by shifting the bulk of the story to the years at Rydal Mount ... this is a distinguished work of literary biography ... The biographer's wide-ranging knowledge of the period adds immensely to the success of this study. It will be many years before another biography of Wordsworth is required. (Jay Parini, USA Today)
He offers a more factually meticulous version of the poet's early years to stand beside the mythopoeic self-presentation of the poetry. He understands the importance of Wordsworth's inner life. Gill's biography quietly but memorably reveals the drama of Wordsworth's life. (Merle Rubin, Christian Science Monitor)
fine new biography ... Mr Gill's biography is up-to-date in its scholarship ... It neither sentimentalizes nor oversimplifies. (Richard Locke, Columbia University, Wall Street Journal)
all stolid good sense (John Linklater, The Bookseller)
this biography contains much to interest scholars (Henry Bartlett, The Courier-Mail)
it is robust and intelligent on his marvellous body of poetry (Observer)
Gill's narrative is well-paced and well-written. Gill's account is comprehensive and engaging, and skilful in its corporation of biographical detail. The Wordsworth specialist, as well as the general reader, will come away from it refreshed and inspired. (Charles Rzepka, Boston University, Essays in Criticism)
eloquent and straight-forward retelling of Wordsworth's life (J.D. Gutteridge, Notes and Queries)
triumphantly reconciles a vast amount of material to produce a life of Wordsworth that is sensitive to modern scholarship and faithful to the age in which the poet himself lived ... Stephen Gill has written a biography of Wordsworth for our times, and it will remain the standard life of the poet for many years to come. (Nicholas Roe, University of St Andrews, Review of English Studies, Vol. XLI, No. 164, Nov '90)
From the paperback:
An assured blend of old and recently-researched material which combines fluently into a vibrant study of the poet. Mr Gill avoids wild speculation and brings us the essence of the man thankfully devoid of spurious conjecture. (Tony Firth, Yorkshire Post)
a unique look at this Romantic poet (Windsor Star) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
A selection of William Wordsworth poems, as chosen by Seamus Heaney. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Apart from being a well-bound, nicely presented book, with an arresting pencil portrait of the poet on the cover, it contains a generous selection of the great man`s poems too, including the marvellous Ode (Intimations of Immortality) and the ambitious, haunting The Ruined Cottage. Most of the famous poems are here, alongside a few lesser known ones. I`m glad to see the astonishing sonnet The World Is Too Much With Us, and strange poems such as Moonlit Horse and the late Extempore Effusion Upon The Death Of James Hogg. Excerpts from The Prelude are sensibly placed at the beginning.
There is a beguilingly elegiac quality to many of Wordsworth`s poems, something which acts as a kind of seam running through much of his verse.
Jonathan Wordsworth, a descendant of the poet`s brother Christopher, has compiled the selection, and provided an excellent fourteen-page introduction.
Even if you have the Works, or other anthologies of the poet, this is such a pleasing, not to mention comprehensive collection that I would recommend adding it to your library. It`s good to have and hold, and - it goes without saying - a pleasure to read.