FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books.
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
The World's Wife has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex library copy with usual stamps/stickers Over 2 million items sold. Fast dispatch and delivery. Excellent Customer Feedback. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The World's Wife Paperback – 3 Sep 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 114 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback, 3 Sep 2010
£9.99
£2.53 £0.01
Audio CD, Audiobook
"Please retry"
£5.49
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£9.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. In stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Frequently Bought Together

  • The World's Wife
  • +
  • The "World's Wife" by Carol Ann Duffy (York Notes Advanced)
Total price: £16.29
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (3 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033037222X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330372220
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Elvis's wimpled sister rocks on in a convent she calls Graceland; Nancy Sinatra gets out her boots made for walking with the Kray Sisters; Mrs Midas misses the touch of her now dangerous golden-handed husband; and Queen Herod decrees the killing of each mother's son to protect her baby daughter in Carol Ann Duffy's startling new collection The World's Wife. Doubling is one of the most common themes--and stylistic ploys--of Western culture and thought, and the concept around which Duffy has ingeniously organised this profoundly playful collection. Mrs Midas, Mrs Aesop, Mrs Darwin, Frau Freud, Anne Hathaway, Mrs Rip Van Winkle, the Kray Sisters; these are some of the wives, and sisters, whose stories are told. These inventive, metaphorically precise poems offer much more, however, than just a recovery of the historical voice of her (supposedly) silenced indoors. Duffy dexterously rewrites Judao-Christian and classical mythologies, subverts fairytale and zestfully reinterprets the more modern myths of Darwin and Freud.

Humour is the abundant keynote of this accessible collection. Mrs Rip Van Winkle enjoys the freedom to travel and paint allowed by her husband's permanent slumbers, "Until the day / I came home with pastel of Niagara / and he was sitting up in bed rattling Viagra." Frau Freud analyses her over-exposure to "ding-a-ling, member and jock, / of todger and nudger and percy and cock," and confesses with irony to being, "as au fait with Hunt-the Salami / as Ms M. Lewinsky." Mrs Aesop groans about her husbands unstoppable garrulousness: "By Christ, he could bore for Purgatory," and Mrs Darwin evolves the following summary her husband's research:

"7 April 1852
Went to the Zoo.
I said to Him--
Something about that Chimpanzee over there
reminds me of you."

The World's Wife throws open the windows on the stuffy annals of historical myth and breezes through some of its highlights with a sense of revelry and laugh-out-loud observation. In this wry take on the historical ubiquity of heterosexual coupledom that permeates so many cultural myths, Duffy has separated vibrant women from the shadows of their more famous husbands and brothers, and divorced them from the distortions of historical silence. --Rachel Holmes --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

'Sparkes with wit, intelligence and an impressive lightness of touch, while drawing on some weighty emotional experiences’ -- Independent

‘A melange of history lesson, fairy-tale and modern-day domestic tragedy’ -- Scotsman

‘These poems vibrate with intense colloquialisms, physicality, energy, freshness and cheek’ -- Sunday Telegraph

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I first discovered Carol Ann Duffy when presented with a copy of her selected works during my A Level English Literature and haven't looked back. She's a sly, intelligent yet not over dramatic poet, rather like Sylvia Plath with the British sense of humour.
The World's Wife is her most accessible collection to date - a collection of delightful parody tales from the world's most important (and least recognised) women. Before you get too enthralled by the humour, take a look at her style - she's precise, accurate and at times, stunning. If this floats your boat, try the Selected Works for a more rounded view of her poetry (much of which is less light hearted and lyrical than this offering).
Comment 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This is a collection of poems all on the same theme of overturning male-centred history, literature and myth, and looking at familiar stories from the neglected wife's perspective. So, for example, we have Mrs Aesop tiring of her husband's constant boring fables, and Delilah explaining why she cut off Samson's hair (he'd complained to her that he didn't know what it was to be gentle, and so she'd done it to help him change, to take away the pressure of always having to be strong). There are also more modern characters, like Frau Freud, the Kray sisters, and Elvis's twin sister.

There's a playful, humorous tone to the poems, and I enjoyed reading them on a quiet afternoon recently in a sun-drenched beer garden. A lot of them had the same basic premise, of a wife wryly mocking her husband's posturing and self-aggrandisement, and this got a bit repetitive after a while. My favourite poems were those that truly brought a new twist to a familiar story, imputing new and more interesting motives to the characters, as in the Delilah example already mentioned, or my favourite of all, Queen Herod. In this poem, we learn that it wasn't the King who ordered the killing of all first-born male children after all, but the Queen, who does it to protect her own newborn daughter: "No man, I swore, will make her shed one tear." I found it a powerful and poignant reworking, and loved the last few lines:

We do our best,
we Queens, we mothers,
mothers of Queens.

We wade through blood
for our sleeping girls.
We have daggers for eyes.

Behind our lullabies,
the hooves of terrible horses
thunder and drum.
Comment 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Duffy here exploits to the full her extroadinary understanding of the English language to provide an amazingly humorous collection of poetry. She profiles numerous well known male figures, such as Aesop, King Midas and even King Kong from the viewpoint of their wives. The intimacy and detail such a relationship would provide is well portrayed, pointing out the fallibility of even the most legendary figure and providing laughs for females around the world! Although some of the selection do add to Duffy's already well established reputation of an anti male attitude, they are on the whole subtle enough to be innoffensive. If you enjoy humour of a satirical brand with lashings of irony and Duffy's individual twist, you cannot fail to be impressed with this compilation. If on the other hand you are a newcomer to Duffy's work, this would be the perfect piece to give you a gentle introduction.
Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I have just finished studying this collection as part of my degree. Although I probably wouldn't have bought this if I had not had to, now that I have read all of the poems, I have to admit that I enjoyed this collection immensely. This is definitely a collection of poems which encourage the reader to think about the issues discussed.
Each of Duffy's poems is a version of history, myth or legend, but from the female perspective (hence the title). So, for example, instead of Shakespeare being the figure of attention, Ann Hathaway becomes the voice for one of the poems. This results in a lot of the humour coming from poking fun at male figures singularly and collectively (I think all women would be able to imagine men they know in quite a few of the poems). Because of this, I felt that the humour was very dark, in places the humour seemed morbid, as you find yourself laughing at things which are actually quite disturbing if you think more about it, ('The Kray Sisters' is one example). This dark humour, I think, is probably due to Duffy dealing with serious issues such as violence and murder, and these occurrences are all the more shocking when they come from a woman.
The only small problem I had with the collection as a whole, was that I felt after a while the poems just seemed more and more anti-men. Don't get me wrong, I understand why Duffy has written them the way she has, but it does make you wonder how a collection by a male poet may be received, if the poems took the same tone towards women.
1 Comment 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I heard Carol Ann Duffy read at the recent PEN Writers Day Festival in London. I'm embarrassed to say I'd never even heard of this amazingly gifted poet before then.
Duffy chose to read four poems from The World's Wife collection. From the very first line of the very first poem Duffy read --- a tale from the perspective of Mrs. Midas, wife of the man with the golden touch (true, it was Midas, not the Goldfinger that Shirley Bassey belted it out about...) --- I was hooked. Bought the book immediately.
This collection is thought-provoking and funny, but also thought-provoking and remarkably touching. Duffy uses language beautifully. Her poetry is accessible.
I've already given this to a dear friend as a gift, and am thinking of about seven other people who will ADORE this collection.
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback