Diana Athill

The Odd Couple

The Friendship: Wordsworth and Coleridge

By

HarperPress 480pp £20 order from our bookshop

Not again! That was my first reaction on hearing about this book. Anyone interested in Wordsworth and Coleridge will probably have read the admirable biographies available about both men, the diaries of Dorothy Wordsworth, and perhaps a life of Coleridge’s wife, and will therefore be familiar with pretty well every inch of the territory. But – one doesn’t refrain from walking through a landscape because one has done so before, and Adam Sisman is a guide to be trusted. So I took a deep breath and off I went. And before saying anything else I can state that this is a very good book, telling the oddest story in the history of English writers – perhaps of writers anywhere – in a way which makes it unputdownable.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,