Diana Athill

Astonishing Intimacy

The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth


Faber & Faber 286pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

No one could read Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal of her life with her brother at Dove Cottage, Grasmere, without realising that her love for him was uncommonly passionate. Even someone with a superficial knowledge of William Wordsworth’s life and works will know that he felt his sister to be so much a part of him that he used her observations, and even her words, in poems he wrote at the time.

… Where’er my footsteps turned,

Her Voice was like a hidden Bird that sang;

The thought of her was like a flash of light

Or an unseen companionship, a breath

Or fragrance independent of the wind.

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