Robert Southey: Entire Man of Letters by W A Speck - review by Adam Sisman

Adam Sisman

Poesy & Apostasy

Robert Southey: Entire Man of Letters

By

Yale University Press 326pp £25 order from our bookshop
 

Almost everyone knows the name of Robert Southey, though few of us can recall a single line of his poetry. Much admired in his lifetime, he is now rarely read. He is remembered largely as the associate of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge: a fact that would probably have astonished and certainly have enraged him. 

He was born in 1774, the son of a Bristol linen-draper who would become bankrupt while Southey was still at school and died soon after. Much of his childhood was spent in the company of his Aunt Tyler, a wealthy spinster who insisted that he share her bed, remaining still

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