The subtitle of this book is “An Idyll of the Vale” and the author, Jane West, says that she wrote it “to provide the reader, and visitors to Grasmere and the Lake District, with insight into the Wordsworths’ daily life at Dove Cottage.”
The book does this, but for myself the greater interest was in the short chapters describing relationships between the Wordsworths and other well-remembered figures who lived or at least stayed for some time in the area. Coleridge, deQuincey, Southey, Scott and Lamb all get attention among the literary giants. Sir George Beaumont and William Green represent the artists.
In addition, though, are other important influencers of the age such as Thomas Clarkson the Quaker co-worker with Wilberforce in the fight against the slave trade, and John Wilson (aka “Christopher North”) who later, for thirty years, was Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University.
These short sketches, often of the ups and downs, of relationships between people of exceptional abilities I found fascinating. Delighted with Grasmere was published in 1993, and a dozen years or so ago I often saw copies in the “remainder” shops. A pity. It deserved much better. Get your copy now, new or used.