William wordsworth

The healing power of Grasmere

William Wordsworth’s life is the foundational version of the nature cure. After a disrupted, troubled childhood, sent to live with unsympathetic relations after his mother’s death, a chaotically disaffected time at Cambridge and a muddled youth, fathering a child on a woman he loved but scarcely knew in France, Wordsworth refused all his family’s urgings to a nice career in the church or the law. Instead, he stumbled towards the kind of poetry he wanted to write and looked, with his sister Dorothy, for a sense of home in Dorset and Somerset. Finally, he returned to the Lake District, and in December 1799 came to Dove Cottage and Grasmere, where

Back to the world of Big Brother: Julia, by Sandra Newman, reviewed

Sandra Newman’s Juliahas a connoisseur’s nose for body odour. When she gets close to another person or animal, she almost always notices their smell – manly, dusty, dungy, a hint of talcum powder. When she suppresses emotion, she sweats. She sprains her wrist and tears rise ‘of themselves like sweat’. In a pivotal scene, she unblocks a gruesomely overflowing toilet. This abundance of bodily functions feels like a reminder of George Orwell’s original Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four, whose physical abandon makes her an object of desire and symbol of rebellion. This fantasy is punctured in Julia. Bodies are sensuous but they are also skin-crawlingly horrible. Mutilated wrecks, with teeth and

Letters: Our churches bring comfort – they must reopen

Is ‘the Science’ scientific? Sir: I hope that those in the highest places will have read and will act upon Dr John Lee’s excellent summary (‘The corona puzzle’, 28 March). His article cuts through the information overload and explains the surreal situation the country is now in. Draconian decisions have been made on the basis of ‘the Science’, apparently without realising that it is not science at all. The dangers of mere extrapolations, both mathematical and humanitarian, are widely understood. Modelling is, in this instance, a sophisticated form of extrapolation and even more dangerous. A specific model cannot be dignified with the term ‘science’ until it has withstood thorough testing.