Books: Spoken word

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Current speculation about the "Hidden Wordsworth" adds new resonance to his sister Dorothy's famous account of their life in Grasmere. The Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth (Mr Punch, c 2hrs, pounds 8.99), starring Jenny Agutter as a feisty Dorothy, is a cleverly constructed introduction to the Dove Cottage set-up which illuminates highlights from the journal that Dorothy kept there with letters, and intersperses the reading with many of the poems her notes helped William to write.

Those who want to get at the cake under the icing will prefer the unabridged Grasmere Journals (Cover to Cover, c 8hrs, pounds 21.99). Dorothy, more soft and countrified in Emma Fielding's reading, is far less brilliant, too prone to harp on about pies and mending. But she is also more human and more mysterious, often touchingly vulnerable, and we get a richer picture of the balance between humble work and intellectual exercise that was the essence of their lives. The relevant poems appear as an add-on at the end.