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Vital Stream

Lucy Newlyn

Foreword by Richard Holmes

Cover of Vital Stream by Lucy Newlyn
RRP: GBP 12.99
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 784108 07 6
Categories: 19th Century, 21st Century, British, Language, Memoirs, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: November 2019
216 x 135 x 14 mm
184 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB)
  • Description
  • Author
  • Reviews
  • A work of historical fiction, an experiment in life writing and a verse drama designed to be read aloud.

    Vital Stream takes the form of a long sonnet sequence, revisiting six extraordinary months in 1802 - a threshold year for William and Dorothy Wordsworth. Parted when they were very young, the siblings had eventually set up home together in the Lake District, where they were to remain for the rest of their lives. After two years in Grasmere, William became engaged to Mary Hutchinson. There followed an intense period of re-adjustment for all three, and for his former lover Annette Vallon, who had borne him a daughter he had never met.

    During 1802 the Wordsworth siblings wrote some of their most beautiful work; these were their last months of living alone, and their writing has an elegiac quality. Their journey to see Annette Vallon and meet William's daughter for the first time took them through London to Calais during the brief Peace of Amiens, involving a careful dissociation from his past. Other complications coloured their lives, to do with Coleridge and his failing marriage. Lucy Newlyn draws all this material into the vital stream of her sequence.

    with a preface by Richard Holmes

    PUBLISHED IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE WORDSWORTH TRUST
    Lucy Newlyn was born in Uganda and grew up in Leeds. She read English atLady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she also studied for her D. Phil, going on to become Lecturer then Tutorial Fellow at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. She taught English at St Edmund Hall for thirty-two years, published widely ... read more
     'It is testament to the dramatic power of Newlyn's achievement that, reading through the sonnets, it is easy to imagine William's part being recited in a Cumbrian burr, overlaid with the crunch of gravel and the rush of rivulets ... [Vital Stream is] a showcase of scholarship, a gripping drama in verse, and an epic prelude — the octave to the sestet of the writing it encompasses and mythologises.'
    James Riding, The London Magazine
     'Her attention to detail in this lengthy series of sonnets is nothing short of phenomenal... These are poems of mood ambiguity, of unexpected warmth and generosity, of philosophical differences, and of a love undermined by the many years of separation prior to the reconciliation at Dove Cottage'
    Steve Whitaker, The Yorkshire Times
    'The lives and the landscapes flash before us like vivid slides in a continuous poetic magic-lantern show.'
    Richard Holmes
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