The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy
Priscilla Gilman had the greatest expectations for the birth of her first child. Growing up in New York among writers and artists, Gilman experienced childhood as a whirlwind of imagination and creative play. Later, as a student and scholar of Wordsworth, she embraced the poet’s romantic view of children—and eagerly anticipated her son’s birth, certain that he, too, would come “trailing clouds of glory.” But her romantic vision would not be fulfilled in the ways she dreamed. Though Benjamin was an extraordinary child, the signs of his remarkable precocity were also manifestations of a developmental disorder that would require intensive therapies and special schooling, and would dramatically alter the course Priscilla had imagined for her family.
In The Anti-Romantic Child, a memoir full of lyricism and light, Gilman explores the complexity of our hopes for our children, our families, and ourselves, and the ways in which experience can lead us to reimagine those hopes and expectations. Using Wordsworth’s poetry as a touchstone, she speaks intimately of her poignant journey through crisis and disenchantment to a place of peace and resilience. Gilman illuminates the flourishing of life that occurs when we embrace the unexpected, and shows how events and situations often perceived as setbacks can actually enrich us. The Anti-Romantic Child is a courageous and inspiring synthesis of memoir and literature, one that resonates long after you finish the last page.
Priscilla Gilman grew up in New York City and received her B.A. and Ph.D. in English and American literature from Yale University. She was a professor of English literature at both Yale and Vassar College before leaving academia in 2006. She has published numerous articles, chaired panels and lectured at literary and early childhood conferences, and taught poetry to inmates in a restorative justice program. She lives with her two sons in New York City. This is her first book.