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Radical Wordsworth


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About the Author

Jonathan Bate, CBE, is Provost of Worcester College and Professor of English Literature at Oxford University. He is Vice-President of the British Academy, a Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and a 2014 judge for the Man-Booker Prize. His biography of John Clare (a poet who was a key influence on Ted Hughes) was shortlisted for seven literary prizes and won three of them, including Britain’s two oldest literary awards, the James Tait Black Prize for Biography and the Hawthornden Prize.


Shortlisted for Lakeland Book of the Year 2021 ‘An entertaining biography … Excellent, intellectually rousing’
The Times ‘This new book, like everything Bate writes, richly repays reading … He is illuminating on the sources of Wordsworth’s nature worship … He carefully and persuasively re-examines the effects of the revolution on Wordsworth … Bate shows that it was Wordsworth who inspired the founders of the National Trust … It is hard to think of another poet who has changed our world so much’
Sunday Times  ‘A bold and bracing account, masterful with its material, patiently brilliant in reading the poems, and gloriously convincing about its subject’s social significance’
Daily Telegraph ‘Bate’s stirring biography … is neither rushed nor reductive. It is full of sharp anecdotes that evoke the lives of the Wordsworths … Bate is able to set the poetry amid the personal’
Spectator ‘A pacy writer and doesn’t pull his punches when it comes to Wordsworth’s later poetry … When he was at his best, Bate says, his poems were as powerful as any since Shakespeare and they ‘uphold and feed’ the spirit of anyone who reads them’ Daily Mail ‘As when a conservator carefully swabs away from an oil painting the crusty accretions and gunk of ages to reveal shining colours and unexpected detail – so Jonathan Bate sets about the youthful Wordsworth, and shows us, page by page, just how world-changing he really was … With wonderful elan, close reading and detective work, Bate blows the chalk-dust away’ Kathleen Jamie,New Statesman ‘Bate is a supremely capable guide, steeped in the poet’s work and milieu … Radical Wordsworth deserves to take its place as the finest modern introduction to his work, life and impact’ Financial Times ‘[A] marvellous new biography of Wordsworth … Exhilarating … his inspiriting fleet-footed book …embroiders together life, poetry and landscape with such dexterity’

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