Duffy, Carol Ann The World's Wife

ISBN 13: 9781447275244

The World's Wife

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9781447275244: The World's Wife
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With an introduction by Jeanette Winterson

This unique collection of poems from the Poet Laureate, filled with her characteristic wit, is a feminist classic and a modern take on age-old mythology.

Who? Him. The Husband. Hero. Hunk.
The Boy Next Door. The Paramour. The Je t'adore.

Behind every famous man is a great woman - and from the quick-tongued Mrs Darwin to the lascivious Frau Freud, from the adoring Queen Kong to the long-suffering wife of the Devil himself, each one steps from her counterpart's shadow to tell her side of the story in this irresistible collection.

Original, subversive, full of imagination and quicksilver wit, The World's Wife is Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy at her beguiling best.

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Elvis's wimpled sister rocks on in a convent she calls Graceland; Nancy Sinatra gets out her boots made for walking with the Kray Sisters; Mrs Midas misses the touch of her now dangerous golden-handed husband; and Queen Herod decrees the killing of each mother's son to protect her baby daughter in Carol Ann Duffy's startling new collection The World's Wife. Doubling is one of the most common themes--and stylistic ploys--of Western culture and thought, and the concept around which Duffy has ingeniously organised this profoundly playful collection. Mrs Midas, Mrs Aesop, Mrs Darwin, Frau Freud, Anne Hathaway, Mrs Rip Van Winkle, the Kray Sisters; these are some of the wives, and sisters, whose stories are told. These inventive, metaphorically precise poems offer much more, however, than just a recovery of the historical voice of her (supposedly) silenced indoors. Duffy dexterously rewrites Judao-Christian and classical mythologies, subverts fairytale and zestfully reinterprets the more modern myths of Darwin and Freud.

Humour is the abundant keynote of this accessible collection. Mrs Rip Van Winkle enjoys the freedom to travel and paint allowed by her husband's permanent slumbers, "Until the day / I came home with pastel of Niagara / and he was sitting up in bed rattling Viagra." Frau Freud analyses her over-exposure to "ding-a-ling, member and jock, / of todger and nudger and percy and cock," and confesses with irony to being, "as au fait with Hunt-the Salami / as Ms M. Lewinsky." Mrs Aesop groans about her husbands unstoppable garrulousness: "By Christ, he could bore for Purgatory," and Mrs Darwin evolves the following summary her husband's research:

"7 April 1852
Went to the Zoo.
I said to Him--
Something about that Chimpanzee over there
reminds me of you."

The World's Wife throws open the windows on the stuffy annals of historical myth and breezes through some of its highlights with a sense of revelry and laugh-out-loud observation. In this wry take on the historical ubiquity of heterosexual coupledom that permeates so many cultural myths, Duffy has separated vibrant women from the shadows of their more famous husbands and brothers, and divorced them from the distortions of historical silence. --Rachel Holmes


Poignant, thoughtful, funny, rich and accessible (Ruth Padel, Books of the Year Guardian)

These thirty poems vibrate with intense colloquialisms, physicality, energy, freshness and cheek. Many of them are very funny... the best are inventive, subversive and written with great rhythmical and rhyming dash (Sunday Telegraph)

Carol Ann Duffy is a poet of skill, talent and great heart (Erica Wagner)

The World's Wife is a joyous exuberant book of poems about women usually excluded from myth and history (Guardian)

Duffy takes a cheeky, subversive, no-nonsense swipe with a dish clout at the famous men of history and myth. They don't have a chance in hell of dodging her quick-witted wallop as she relays their stories from their spouse's points of view (The Times)

It sparkes with wit, intelligence and an impressive lightness of touch, while drawing on some weighty emotional experiences: loneliness, jealousy, self-loathing, desire, the fierceness of a mother's love (Christina Patterson Independent)

She reveals the foibles of the great, the ghastly and the ordinary bloke and the sufferings of those closest to them. The result is a melange of history lesson, fairy-tale and modern-day domestic tragedy, with the occasional joke thrown in for good measure. . . Duffy's poetics are flawless - she never misses a beat, her pace is exhilarating, and her language is original and exciting (Scotsman)

This book is going to be a hit, and can only consolidate Duffy's position as one of the most widely read British poets of her generation (Robert Crawford Herald)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780571199952: The World's Wife: Poems

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  057119995X ISBN 13:  9780571199952
Publisher: Macmillan USA, 2001

9781509852666: The World's Wife

Picador, 2017

9780571199853: The World's Wife

Faber ..., 2000

9780330372213: The World's Wife

Picador, 1999

9780330372220: The World's Wife

Picador, 2010

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Duffy, Carol Ann
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Duffy Carol Ann
Published by Picador (2015)
ISBN 10: 1447275241 ISBN 13: 9781447275244
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