Cataract of Lodore by Robert Southey

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

At the request of his children, the author creates a descriptive poem evoking the sound and feel of water that flows on its way to a famous waterfall at Lodore in England.
 

About Robert Southey

See more books from this Author
Robert Southey was born on August 12, 1774. In 1788, Southey entered the Westminster school at the expense of his uncle. One year after his admission to Westminster, the French Revolution began. Southey was fifteen years old at the time, and like many young people of his day, he passionately sympathized with the high ideals of the French cause. During these years, Southey befriended both Charles W. W. Wynn and Grosvenor Charles Bedford. Bedford and Wynn began a publication in 1792, The Flagellant, which Southey later joined as writer and co-editor. He submitted an anonymous article on "Flogging," in which he claimed that the school's disciplinary practice of flogging students was satanic. Dr. Vincent, the headmaster at the school, viewed the essay not as the product of a boy's imagination, but as a direct attack on both the school and the British Constitution. Eventually, Southey came forward and offered his apology, but was nonetheless expelled from school. Southey was of course then refused admission at Christ Church and had to attend Balliol College at Oxford. In order to escape life at Oxford and postpone making his decision to join the clergy, Southey took some time off from school in the autumn of 1793. Southey eventually left Oxford after his second term to be married. Shortly after leaving, he crossed paths with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with whom he formed a friendship which would mold his early life and continue until his later years. In 1794, Southey, Coleridge, and several mutual friends came up with the idea of "Pantisocracy," or "equal rule of all." Their goal was to emigrate to America to practice Pantisocracy by forming a communal, utopian settlement where everyone would live in harmony and brotherhood. In order to raise money for this, Southey and Coleridge joined to write drama and political propaganda, and to write and deliver weekly lectures on politics and history. At this time, they co-wrote the drama entitled "The Fall of Robespierre," which was published by a radical printer at Cambridge under Coleridge's name. This same year Southey wrote Wat Tyler, based on the Peasant's Revolt of 1381. Unfortunately, Wat Tyler was not published, the scheme to emigrate to America to practice "Pantisocracy" never came to fruition, and his friendship with Coleridge became increasingly strained. The relationship deteriorated further when Coleridge and his wife began having marital difficulties. Coleridge eventually left his wife and Southey was forced to support both families. Southey then accepted Charles Wynn's offer to set up an annuity for him if he would study law. Southey began to study law by day and write poetry and prose at night. He drifted entirely away from his legal studies and began to concentrate solely on his writing. Between 1796 and 1805 Southey wrote Joan of Arc: An Epic Poem, Thalaba the Destroyer, Madoc, and several volumes of shorter verse. He also wrote numerous ballads, made frequent contributions to The Monthly Magazine and published the popular Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal. After several years of estrangement from Coleridge, the two poets collaborated on the Devil's Walk in 1799. Although Southey remained a champion of the poor and became an outspoken adversary of slavery, he began to cherish the maintenance of social order. After becoming an outspoken member of the Tory party, Southey's changing views led him to accept a position as Britain's Poet Laureate in 1813, a position that he held for 30 years. Twenty-three years after Wat Tyler was written, it suddenly resurfaced into a highly charged political atmosphere in which an older, more conservative Southey was at the forefront. Upon learning that Southey was the author, his adversaries, such as William Hazlitt and William Smith, seized upon the play as an example of his hypocrisy, while his friends, Wynn, Coleridge, and Wordsworth, defended him vehemently. Despite the effects of Wat Tyler's appearance on Southey's reputation, it sold over 60,000 copies and was reprinted, making it one of his most well-read and commercially successful works. Southey eventually incorporated the play into his complete works in 1838. Although the reappearance of the poem forced Southey to confront the dissipation of his youthful ideals, it did not significantly affect his career as an esteemed poet and writer. Southey remained Poet Laureate of Britain for 30 years, and eventually died in 1843. David Catrow is the illustrator of numerous notable books for children, including the other Silly Dilly books, as well as Kathryn Lasky's She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year. Mr. Catrow is also a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist whose work appears in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as in nine hundred other newspapers. He lives in Springfield, Ohio.
 
Published April 18, 2013 by Dial. 32 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Cataract of Lodore

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

At his children's request, one of Britain's poet laureates (1813-43) explains ``How does the Water/Come down at Lodore?''--a waterfall at the upper end of Derwentwater, also a favorite haunt of Beatrix Potter's.

| Read Full Review of Cataract of Lodore

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Oddly enough, Mordecai Gerstein's lovely, comical edition of this onomatopoeic poem--in which a poet laureate describes one of Britain's waterfalls to his children--came out just last fall.

| Read Full Review of Cataract of Lodore

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

The Mountains of Tibet ) fanciful paintings are appropriately dominated by blue tones and frequent aqueous splashes of white paint.

| Read Full Review of Cataract of Lodore

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Southey's 19th-century poem describing the nature of his children's favorite waterfall splashes along swimmingly in this picture book rendition.

| Read Full Review of Cataract of Lodore

Rate this book!

Add Review