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Out of my Borrowed Books

Poems by Augusta Webster, Mathilde Blind and Amy Levy

Augusta Webster, Mathilde Blind and Amy Levy

Edited by Judith Willson

Cover Picture of Out of my Borrowed Books: Poems by Augusta Webster, Mathilde Blind and Amy Levy
Categories: 19th Century, Women
Imprint: FyfieldBooks
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (320 pages)
(Pub. Nov 2006)
9781857548549
Out of Stock
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Authors
  • Reviews
  • ...teaching myself out of my borrowed books...

    from Augusta Webster, 'The Castaway'

    This anthology brings together for the first time a substantial selection of poems by Augusta Webster (1837-94), Mathilde Blind (1841-96) and Amy Levy (1861-89), three poets whose writing both reflected and helped to shape a time when women were working out structures for new kinds of lives and the language for new voices. All three were conscious of the traditions they inherited and remade. The tensions they explore, between compliance and transgression, independence and isolation, make their poetry both creatively rewarding and historically significant. Many of the poems in this selection have been neglected for almost a century: now, restored to their context in the late Victorian literary landscape, their compelling imaginative worlds are once more made accessible to readers.

    The anthology includes an introduction to the lives and cultural context of the three poets, bibliographies and detailed notes on the poems.
    Augusta Webster
    Augusta Webster was born Augusta Davies in 1837, the daughter of a naval officer. She spent part of her early childhood aboard her father's ship, before schooling in Scotland and at Cambridge School of Art. She taught herself Greek, Italian and Spanish, and learned to speak French while living in Paris ... read more
    Mathilde Blind
    Mathilde Blind was born in Mannheim in 1841. After the death of her father, her mother married Karl Blind; his involvement in revolutionary politics caused the family to flee to England in 1848. She mixed in left-wing, radical circles throughout her life, maintaining friendships with Garibaldi and Mazzini, and was a ... read more
    Amy Levy
    Amy Levy was born in London in 1861, and following schooling at Brighton High School for Girls became the first Jewish student to gain a place at Newnham College, Cambridge (although she only studied there for two terms). Her first book, Xantippe and other poems, was published in 1880, while ... read more
    Judith Willson
    Judith Willson has worked as a teacher and in publishing. Her work was featured in Carcanet’s New Poetries VI and her first collection, Crossing the Mirror Line, was published by Carcanet in 2017. She grew up in London and Manchester and now lives in the Yorkshire Pennines. ... read more
    'a key publication for bringing [women poets of the fin de siecle] into print as a group'
    Marion Thain and Ana Parejo Vadillo, Writing Women of the Fin de Siecle
    Praise for Judith Willson 'This atmospheric collection shows how history can be brought to life. One individual, though forgotten in time, is remembered through Willson's thoughtful poetry and prose'

    Sue Wallace-Shaddad, The Alchemy Spoon

    'The collection is pervaded by a profound sense of the unknowability of the past, but its vitality nonetheless... an extraordinary poetic meditation'

    Anatomies of Power, Christopher Smith

    'There's a real fluidity, a real haunting, a real fairy tale-like feeling to this collection... Beautiful on every level. I just loved it.'

    Jasmine Reads, YouTube

    'Fleet is an important book: it seeks to recover lost voices and sharpen our awareness of imperial cruelty and exploitation, while unveiling a future in which the once most powerful species is itself endangered ... Willson is the kind of writer who has a gift for bringing research alive, and infuses sparse facts with mystery and pathos.'

    Carol Rumens, The Guardian where The Human Voice from a Distance was Poem of the Week w/c 1st March 2021

    'These poems glitter and intrigue, with a high strike-rate, a sophisticated polish on words.'
    Dilys Wood, Artemis Poetry
    'It is a poetry of settlement, of attending to the artistic voices including your own, and contemplating their artefacts as is only possible in a civilised condition. How it might view such things as governmental cruelty or the history of brutality, is suggested through the careful development of figurative language.'
    Peter Riley, Fortnightly Review
     'She gets everything right: beautiful, fulsome vocabulary, arresting images, and perfect control of tone and metre. She is thoughtful and exact. These poems have clearly seen many reworkings. I'm reading this book greedily...I know I'll come back to it again.'
    Charlotte Wetton, The Kindling Journal
    'Judith Willson's taut, meditative, richly imagined debut collection ... is an on-going interplay between a speaking us and a silent them, between multiple artworks and their multiple subjects: not just one single crossing of the mirror line, but several.'
    Stephen Grace, Eborakon
    Judith's poem 'A Bone Flute' from her debut collection Crossing the Mirror Line was Guardian Poem of the Week on 8th January 2018
     'Judith Willson's poetry takes us, in a dazzling flow of images, to lives which have the solidity of Central European fairytale with all the frightening reality of history behind them. Richly inventive in form and precise in tone, this is an amazingly assured debut collection.'
    Elaine Feinstein

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