An English Life
A complete reassessment of the life and work of one of England's most important poets in a highly accessible literary biography.
The poet George Crabbe (1754 - 1832), best known as the author of Peter Grimes and The Village, was also a surgeon, a clergyman, a botanist, and a novelist. An ambitious, resourceful, self-made professional man, he devoted his middle years to his children and his increasingly ill wife, after whose death he embarked, at 60, on an astonishing second life.
This new biography charts, for the first time, Crabbe's progress from an impoverished, provincial childhood in coastal Suffolk to late eighteenth-century London, where he witnessed the Gordon Riots and acquired Edmund Burke as patron; through his eventful career as a ducal chaplain and county parson whose addictions included natural history, theatre-going, and opium; and so on to his final years when, as a rector in Wiltshire, he travelled widely, met major literary figures such as Scott and Wordsworth, and fell in love with some remarkable young women.
Neil Powell provides a compelling portrait of a uniquely gifted poet - a man of low-key and unsentimental vision who lived a quintessentially English life.
“Neil Powell's biography is both a persuasive character study and an astute reading of the poems. He brings Crabbe to life with deft touches of humour”