In the Blood

Frank Kermode writes:

This memoir takes its title and its epigraph from Wordsworth:

I have owed to them\ In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,\ Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart.

The poet laureate thus salutes a distinguished predecessor. Yet there is nothing particularly Wordsworthian about Andrew Motion’s book. The only character who uses the expression ‘in the blood’ is the poet’s father, and what he means is that when the time comes Andrew is bound to enjoy hunting. There is little evidence here of childish wildness or wickedness, no hint of Wordsworth’s animating discipline of fear – ‘more like a man/Flying from something that he dreads, than one/Who sought the thing he loved’ – and even less in the way of ‘aching joys’ and ‘dizzy raptures’. Nor does Motion’s bear much resemblance to other classic accounts of childhood; though sometimes movingly and expertly sad, he is normally rather sedate, with a matching prose style that offers nothing in the least like those huge combing sentences that break over the head of Proust’s boy, and none of those uncanny spots of time that in their various ways obsessed both Proust and Wordsworth. Nor are there glimpses of a shining angel infancy like Vaughan’s.

(LRB 7 September 2006)

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Other Titles of Interest

Silver: Return to Treasure Island

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Think of the fortune waiting for you... July, 1802. Young ...

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Selected Poems, 1976-1997

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In this book Andrew Motion has made his own choice from his ...

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This title isn’t currently available to order. However, we’re still able to send you some of our favourite books, old and new – browse the full list at londonreviewbookbox.co.uk/collections/staff-picks.

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In the Blood

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From the publisher:

Written from a teenage child’s point of view, Motion ...

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This title isn’t currently available to order. However, we’re still able to send you some of our favourite books, old and new – browse the full list at londonreviewbookbox.co.uk/collections/staff-picks.

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The Cinder Path

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From the publisher:

Andrew Motion’s new collection (his first since Public ...

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The Customs House

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From the publisher:

Andrew Motion’s new book opens with a sequence of war ...

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This title isn’t currently available to order. However, we’re still able to send you some of our favourite books, old and new – browse the full list at londonreviewbookbox.co.uk/collections/staff-picks.

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