The Stricken Deer

For a time, towards the end of the eighteenth-century, William Cowper ( was the foremost poet in England. But David Cecil’s biography (1929) doesn’t celebrate a life of success, rather, in Cowper’s own words, ‘the strange and uncommon incidents of my life.’ Cowper suffered from severe bouts of depression ( His personal tragedy however enriched English literature: the fear of madness made him turn to writing poetry as a form of mental discipline, and isolation for the great world and from his own kind helped him to become the most enchanting of letter-writers.

This is a sympathetic and vivid biography; it is subtle with a kind of gentle acuteness and vivid without literary ostentation. It is the work of a biographer with a clear head and a clever heart – the rarest of all merits is the sensitive fairness of the biographer’s estimate of character and situation throughout.

320 pages in Constable paperback edition

ISBN 978-0094684300

William Cowper

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