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‘It is hard to do justice to the breadth of research Copus has done here, or the compassionate, detailed conjuring of Mew and her milieu. A deeply private poet, Mew is nevertheless exquisitely rendered here, and her imagination is engaged with on such intimate terms that This Rare Spirit draws readers into a sort of communion … an essential book, a classic work of literary biography.’

‘The reason why any account of Mew, including this fine biography by Julia Copus, feels obliged to begin by bigging her up is precisely because she has so often been done down.’

Not everyone will have heard of Charlotte Mew, but she has a good claim to be the foremost British female poet. Julia Copus’s is the first authoritative biography, and it is a triumph of precise scholarship and imaginative sympathy.

Copus wants to restore Mew to her rightful place in our literary heritage. If her keenly intelligent, fascinating and nuanced biography doesn’t achieve this end, then I don’t know what will. Save Charlotte Mew! And read this book.’

‘With luck (and Mew’s life was in many ways a history of distinctly bad luck) Julia Copus’s fine new Life will bring Mew the larger audience she deserves.’

‘I always feel a certain amount of trepidation before reading biographies, and the weight and size of this hardback edition did add to this. However I overcame my initial slight fear, only to find myself reading and enjoying it like a novel. I honestly didn’t want to put it down.’

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