It Goes with the Territory

By Elaine Feinstein

ISBN: 9781846883019

320 pages

RRP: £20.00 £16.00

A prolific author of novels, poetry collections, plays, biographies and translations, Elaine Feinstein is one of the towering literary figures of the last few decades. In this, her first memoir, she tells the story of her journey from a Jewish childhood in Leicester to the undergraduate world of post-war Cambridge, the excitement of friendships in the literary world and the tensions of a poet’s writing life inside a long and sometimes painful marriage.

This book, however, is not only the intimate memoir of one of Britain’s finest poets and novelists: it is also the story of a rapidly changing country and of an entire generation of authors. Told with the precision of a biographer and the finesse of a poet, and peppered with witty literary anecdotes, It Goes with the Territory is an absorbing read from beginning to end.

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  • A fascinating life, full of extraordinary characters.

    The Financial Times

  • Not just beautifully written, with all the power and grace of one of our leading English poets – but made the more remarkable by insights into the history of the poetic life in this country since the middle of the last century. Here also find travels among Russian poets under Soviet rule – and the story of Feinstein’s own marriage, as poet met scientist in the days when people fell in love and stayed in love, through thick and thin. It both illuminates, and moves to tears.

    Fay Weldon

  • A delight and an inspiration for women, Jews and other outsiders who have something important to communicate.

    Jewish Chronicle

  • A vivid evocation of a life dedicated to poetry and writing

    The Independent

  • As she illustrates with bracing honesty, Feinstein lives by the words of one of her key biographical subjects, Anna Akhmatova – 'Who can refuse to live their own life?' – however creative, painful and loving that life may be.


  • Beautifully written, evocative and emotionally enlightening, Feinstein's anecdote-filled account of her life, its joys and sorrows and professional and personal successes is enticing.

    The Good Book Guide

  • Entertaining and touching slices of life.

    Piers Plowright
    Camden Review

  • This wonderful book is so much more than the memoirs of a poet.

    The Telegraph

Elaine Feinstein

Born in Bootle, Lancashire, Elaine Feinstein has written fifteen novels, nineteen collections of poetry, as well as several biographies and radio plays. Her biography Ted Hughes: The Life of a Poet (2001) was shortlisted for the Marsh Biography Prize. Her Collected Poems and Translations (2002) was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. Appointed to the Council of the Royal Society of Literature in 2007, she has served as a judge for the Gregory Awards, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Costa Poetry Prize, and has been chairman of the judges for the T.S. Eliot Prize.

Read an interview with Elaine Feinstein here