Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997
Podcast Episode
12:01pm

Undersong

with Kathleen Winter
Hosted by Janet Somerville

Undersong

with Kathleen Winter
Hosted by Janet Somerville
17
Friday
Sep
12:01pm
Kathleen Winter - Photo by Roger LeMoyne

Acclaimed author and Toronto Star contributor Janet Somerville sits down with Giller-shortlisted author Kathleen Winter about her latest, Undersong , a reimagining of the lost years of misunderstood Romantic Era genius Dorothy Wordsworth.

 

When young James Dixon, a local jack-of-all-trades recently returned from the Battle of Waterloo, meets writer Dorothy Wordsworth, he quickly realizes he’s never met another woman anything like her. In her early thirties at the time of the meeting, Dorothy has already lived a wildly unconventional life. As her famous brother William Wordsworth’s confidante and creative collaborator—considered by some in their circle to be the secret to his success as a poet—she has carved a seemingly idyllic existence for herself, alongside William and his wife, in England’s Lake District. 

 

Through the fictional James Dixon—a gentle but troubled soul, more attuned to the wonders of the garden he faithfully tends than to vexing worldly matters—we step inside the Wordsworth family, witnessing their dramatic emotional and artistic struggles, hidden traumas, private betrayals and triumphs. At the same time, Winter slowly weaves a darker, complex “undersong” through the novel, one as earthy and elemental as flower and tree, gradually revealing the pattern of Dorothy's rich, hidden life—that of a woman determined, against all odds, to exist on her own terms despite societal norms.

 

Books are available from our friends at Perfect Books.

 

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