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Synopsis

A continuous text made up of extracts from Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal and a selection of her brother's poems. Dorothy Wordsworth kept her Journal 'because I shall give William pleasure by it'. In doing so, she never dreamt that she was giving future readers not only the chance to enjoy her fresh and sensitive delight in the beauties that surrounded her at Grasmere but also a rare opportunity to observe 'the progress of a poet's mind'. Colette Clark's skilful and perceptive arrangement of Dorothy's entries alongside William's poems throws a unique light on his creative process, and shows how the interdependence of brother and sister was a vital part in the writing of many of his great poems. By reading these poems in relation to the Journal it is possible to trace the processes by which they were committed to paper and so achieve a fuller understanding of them. A writer in her own right, Dorothy kept her Journal sparse in personal and emotional detail. Yet there is, nevertheless, a deep emotional undercurrent running beneath the surface which only falters when William marries Mary Hutchinson. Never again was Dorothy to achieve the freedom, spontaneity and the limpidly beautiful prose with which she infused and irradiated the Grasmere Journals.

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