The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth, Paperback Book
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Ordinarily presented as a self-effacing virgin or sacrificial saint, Dorothy Wordsworth was a talented writer and exceptional woman.

She was William Wordsworth's inspiration, aide and most valued reader and traded in a conventional life to share in his world of words.

In her journals, Dorothy kept a record of their idyllic life together.

The tale that unfolds through her brief, lyrical entries reveals a strange, intangible love between brother and sister, culminating in Dorothy's dramatic collapse on the day of William's wedding.

In her beautifully told biography, Frances Wilson brings Dorothy to life in all her complexity.

From the restrained prose of Dorothy's journals, she uncovers the rich emotional life of a woman who suffered the jealousies of a discarded mistress - and eventually insanity.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: literary
  • ISBN: 9780571230488

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 I have rarely enjoyed a biography so much. So well written and researched. Fascinated by the relationship between Dorothy and her brother. That, together with the close connection they both had to their natural environment was compelling reading. I was fascinated to read that many people at the time thought that the relationship between Dorothy and William is what inspired the creation of Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. How talented Dorothy was and how cantankerous as she grew older. What an extraordinary character Mary Wordsworth was. Have now got hold of the diaries. Looking forward to reading them and De Quincey's essays. This book is a must!