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Skills in conflict resolution seem to reside with a few, but on the whole, withdrawal and separation are the only stratagies employed. Maybe now I can return to the poetry and see if my understanding is in any way altered. This is probably my favourite out of all the biographies I've written. It began in the archives of Dove Cottage once Dorothy and William Wordsworth's home where I was researching something else.

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I stumbled on boxes of diaries and letters from the women who lived with the Lake Poets - Southey, Coleridge and Wordsworth - many of them unused by scholars researching the men. They included Dorothy Wordsworth's journals and I was surprised to see that she kept a journal almost all her life, though o This is probably my favourite out of all the biographies I've written. They included Dorothy Wordsworth's journals and I was surprised to see that she kept a journal almost all her life, though only two - the Grasmere and Alfoxden journals - are usually published.

I read and read, growing more and more involved. And suddenly I became aware that there was a story in the relationships between the women, hidden in their journals and letters, and it was a story that hadn't been told before. We were away in The Lake District for a holiday this summer and went to visit Wordsworth House the house in which William Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth which was so very interesting.

Whilst in the shop on leaving I spotted this book which says it tells of the lives of the wives, sisters and daughters of the the lake poets, namely William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey, and what an eyeopener it turned out to be absolutely fascinating! What a lot those women had to pu We were away in The Lake District for a holiday this summer and went to visit Wordsworth House the house in which William Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth which was so very interesting.

What a lot those women had to put up with for the sake of their husbands talent! The poets themselves would certainly not been as famous as they were if not for the women behind them. Apart from the fact they were all addicted to Laudanum a much used pain killer of the time.

A Passionate Sisterhood by Kathleen Jones

Samuel T Coleridge was absolutely hooked on it which I think is fairly well known and led a very merry life taking off all over the country leaving wife Sarah at home with the children and making her life a misery! I don't want to give too much away, but if you are interested in poets and poetry this is an excellent peek at the families around them, left to pick up the pieces of some very chaotic lives.

And what a story! This is no mean feat in itself. And I am in awe of the work that researching and writing a biography of this calibre and breadth entails. For me this insight into the lives of the women and the realities of everyday life is what makes the story so captivating from the beginning. I was hooked from the start: A moving look at the women surrounding Wordsworth, Colerdige, et al. It concentrates on their daily lives and the resilience and independence they exhibited within the confines of early 19th century life for a female.

It is sometimes shocking to think of what they suffered with high child mortality, lack of financial control, and the rigid social constraints. The writing style is not academic, so it is easy to get pulled into the lives of the women. The author had the added burden that all the w A moving look at the women surrounding Wordsworth, Colerdige, et al.

The author had the added burden that all the women seem to be named Mary, Sara or Catherine! Tremendously interesting biography of the lake poets and their wives. Coleridge, Wordsworth and Southey - great friends as young men with Southey and Coleridge marrying sisters. The frustrated genuis of the children of these gifted men and often their likewise gifted wives and siblings.

Reading about Sara Coleridge's brilliance and her Victorian subjucation of female intellectual superiority, revealed again, the loss of great female voiced literature. Talking about literary geography - my next visit to the Lake District will feel a lot more special after having read this. If you can keep up with all the names of people and places you will find this book a page-turner. Rachel rated it it was amazing Oct 30, Jo rated it liked it Jun 07, Claude Bunce rated it really liked it Jan 06, Joyce rated it did not like it Jul 03, Leto rated it really liked it Aug 25, Terrence L rated it really liked it Jul 24, Deborah Duffy rated it it was ok Apr 04, Elizabeth rated it liked it Oct 14, Elizabeth rated it did not like it Feb 25, Poppy rated it really liked it Jan 08, Natalie Newell rated it really liked it Mar 20, Ann Pease rated it liked it Dec 10, Sarah F rated it it was amazing Aug 14, Kelly Knight rated it really liked it Apr 25, Mar 25, Angela rated it really liked it.

While the Southeys are a little overlooked, particularly in the second half of the book, this is a beautiful group biography that mostly balances the many people it covers. Jones portrays the lives of the women of the Lake Poet circle in vivid detail while also referencing the process of research and occasionally acknowledging the gaps in historical knowledge.

While Jones is often critical of her subjects, to me her coverage felt like a fair acknowledgement of the flaws and complexities of those While the Southeys are a little overlooked, particularly in the second half of the book, this is a beautiful group biography that mostly balances the many people it covers. While Jones is often critical of her subjects, to me her coverage felt like a fair acknowledgement of the flaws and complexities of those involved.


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  • If Jones does not shy away from the flaws of her subjects, she also fully acknowledges the difficulties of their lives. Gail rated it it was amazing Oct 18, Suzie Grogan rated it it was amazing Aug 25, Anna Cunningham rated it really liked it Nov 06, Melanie rated it really liked it Mar 09, Kate rated it it was amazing Jan 16, This group consisted of two sisters and a sister-in-law: Dorothy's character was predicated on serving others.

    Dorothy's mother died when the family was young and the children were split up. When she was finally reunited with her brother William, they became passionately attached; she was his amanuensis and his best critic. The frequent use he made of her notebooks makes it fair to consider her vivid observations as the springboard for much of his poetic imagination. Though he denied her contribution and edited her out of his later poems, scholars have since recognized her literary gifts.

    Dorothy also played the role of intelligent, feminine admirer [End Page ] to Coleridge and, for a time, the three formed an intensely romantic, triangular friendship. When Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson, the circle expanded with emotional consequences to Dorothy still not fully fathomable.

    A Passionate Sisterhood

    Meanwhile, Sarah Coleridge, who was not literary, but nevertheless invented her own language, valiantly coped with her mercurial, mostly absent husband, childbearing, meager resources, and illness. She had expected a more equal partnership. Jones's treatment of her subverts the conventional portrait of the unsympathetic wife of a misunderstood genius. Edith bore Robert Southey eight children, lost four to early deaths, and subsided into depression and eventual madness.

    Farm Girl 21 years ago. Just a few months after having her second child!

    Mary Lovell's husband died, leaving her in her mid-twenties, with a son, no occupation, and no means of support. Southey extended assistance to both Sarah and Mary, and for a long time Southey's Greta Hall was filled with several dependent families.

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