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Ted Hughes is one of the most important twentieth-century British poets. This book provides a radical reassessment of his relationship to the Christian faith, revealing his critically-endorsed paganism as profoundly and productively engaged with all the essentials of Christian thought. Hughes's intense criticism of the Reformation, his interest in restoring the Virgin Mary to her pre-Christian status as divine mother-goddess, his attempts to marry evolutionary science and scripture with a biological interpretation of the fall, his endorsement of the cross as the central symbol of the human condition, and the role of Christ in his myth of Sylvia Plath are among the many topics explored. Along the way, Troupes establishes strong thematic and intertextual links between Hughes and the American Transcendentalist tradition - a tradition which offers moments of vital illumination of Hughes's religious themes while encouraging a more generous trans-Atlantic appreciation of Hughes's literary affiliations.
Ascanius is the most prominent child hero in Virgil's Aeneid. He accompanies his father from Troy to Italy and is present from the first book of the epic to the last; he is destined to found the city of Alba Longa and the Julian family to which Caesar and Augustus both belonged; and he hunts, fights, makes speeches, and even makes a joke. In this first book-length study of Virgil's Ascanius, Anne Rogerson demonstrates the importance of this character not just to the Augustan family tree but to the texture and the meaning of the Aeneid. As a figure of prophecy and a symbol both of hopes for the future and of present uncertainties, Ascanius is a fusion of epic and dynastic desires. Compelling close readings of the representation and reception of this understudied character throughout the Aeneid expose the unexpectedly childish qualities of Virgil's heroic epic.
Considered the most important figure in medieval French literature, Chretien de Troyes is credited with inventing the modern novel. The roots of his influential Arthurian romance narratives remain the subject of investigation and great debate among medieval scholars. In ""From Plato to Lancelot"", K. Sarah-Jane Murray makes a highly original and profoundly significant contribution to current scholarship by locating Chretien's work at the intersection of two important traditions: one derived from Greco-Roman antiquity, the other from the Celtic world of the Atlantic seaboard.Drawing on a broad range of sources, from Plato's ""Timaeus"" and Ovid's ""Metamorphoses"" to the anonymous Ovidian tales translated in the twelfth century and Marie de France's ""Lais"", Murray demonstrates that Chretien and his contemporaries learned the importance of translation from the Mediterranean-centered classical tradition. She then turns to the Celtic world, examining how Irish monastic scholarship, as demonstrated by the Voyage of St. Brendan and Celtic saints' lives, influenced the cultural identity of medieval Europe and paved the way for an interest in Celtic stories and legends.With penetrating insight and lucid prose, Murray locates Chretien's singular genius in his ability to look to the future and to lay the foundations for a thoroughly new, and French, tradition of vernacular storytelling.
Soon Come celebrates Jamaican poetry as an expression and extension of the island's rich spiritual traditions, offering fresh insights into some of the late twentieth century's most important and influential poetry. Drawing inspiration from the history of Myal, Kumina, Revivalism, and Rastafari, Hodges develops a critical language for the discussion of a wide range of Jamaican texts, both oral and written.
Beginning with traditional proverbs and Anancy stories, Soon Come explores healing rituals, possession rites, and miracles in Revival hymns; the seminal poetry of Claude McKay, Una Marson, and Louise Bennett; the Rastafari-influenced reggae of Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Bunny Wailer, and Ras Michael; the dub poetry of Linton Kwesi Johnson and Mutabaruka; and the groundbreaking work of Dennis Scott, Anthony McNeill, and Lorna Goodison. What emerges is a profoundly hopeful vision of Jamaican poetry as an ongoing ritual that engenders the future even as it reimagines the past. Written in a lively, accessible style, Soon Come will appeal as much to the general reader as to the academic, to the serious Bob Marley fan as much as to the student of New World religious traditions.
This Strange Loneliness is the first comprehensive account of the poetic relationship between Seamus Heaney and William Wordsworth. Peter Mackay explores how Heaney repeatedly turns to the Romantic poet's work for inspiration, corroboration, and amplification, and as a model for the fortifying power of poetry itself, which offers the fundamental lesson that "it is on this earth 'we find our happiness, or not at all.'" Through an in-depth look at archival materials, and at uncollected poems and prose by Heaney, Mackay traces the evolution of Heaney's readings of Wordsworth throughout his career, revealing their shared interest in the connections between poetry and education, the possibility of a beneficial understanding of poetic influence, the complexities of place and displacement, ideas of transcendence, and ultimately the importance of "late style": later poems by Wordsworth might prove a cautionary tale, as well as example, for any poet. Placing Heaney's readings within their political, historical, and poetic contexts the book also explores how he negotiated the complex relationship between Irish and British culture and identity to claim a persistent form of kinship, and forge a strange community, with the Romantic poet. With illuminating readings that reveal new contexts to and currents in Heaney's work, This Strange Loneliness is a powerful evocation of the Irish poet's sense of the "uplift" that poetry can provide.
Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) was one of Scotland's leading twentieth century public intellectuals, and famously one of its most brilliant and combative correspondents. His letters raise issues of particular and widespread interest both within Scotland and further afield. His correspondence with Stephen Bann, the English poet and academic have a very special place in this context. These letters present in a clear and commensurable form the development of his ideas about poetry and art, and increasingly about sculpture and gardening, over this critical five year period of his creative life.
What our tendency to justify the mistakes in poems reveals about our faith in poetry-and about how we read Keats mixed up Cortez and Balboa. Heaney misremembered the name of one of Wordsworth's lakes. Poetry-even by the greats-is rife with mistakes. In The Poet's Mistake, critic and poet Erica McAlpine gathers together for the first time numerous instances of these errors, from well-known historical gaffes to never-before-noticed grammatical incongruities, misspellings, and solecisms. But unlike the many critics and other readers who consider such errors felicitous or essential to the work itself, she makes a compelling case for calling a mistake a mistake, arguing that denying the possibility of error does a disservice to poets and their poems. Tracing the temptation to justify poets' errors from Aristotle through Freud, McAlpine demonstrates that the study of poetry's mistakes is also a study of critical attitudes toward mistakes, which are usually too generous-and often at the expense of the poet's intentions. Through remarkable close readings of Wordsworth, Keats, Browning, Clare, Dickinson, Crane, Bishop, Heaney, Ashbery, and others, The Poet's Mistake shows that errors are an inevitable part of poetry's making and that our responses to them reveal a great deal about our faith in poetry-and about how we read.
A Sunday Times Book of the Year Winner of the 2019 Elma Dangerfield Prize Shortlisted for The Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize 'This magnificent, highly readable double biography...brings these two driven, complicated women vividly to life' The Financial Times 'A gripping saga of a double-biography' Daily Mail 'A masterful portrait' The Times 'Vastly enjoyable' Literary Review 'Deeply absorbing and meticulously researched' The Oldie In 1815, the clever, courted and cherished Annabella Milbanke married the notorious and brilliant Lord Byron. Just one year later, she fled, taking with her their baby daughter, the future Ada Lovelace. Byron himself escaped into exile and died as a revolutionary hero in 1824, aged 36. The one thing he had asked his wife to do was to make sure that their daughter never became a poet. Ada didn't. Brought up by a mother who became one of the most progressive reformers of Victorian England, Byron's little girl was introduced to mathematics as a means of calming her wild spirits. Educated by some of the most learned minds in England, she combined that scholarly discipline with a rebellious heart and a visionary imagination. As a child invalid, Ada dreamed of building a steam-driven flying horse. As an exuberant and boldly unconventional young woman, she amplified her explanations of Charles Babbage's unbuilt calculating engine to predict, as nobody would do for another century, the dawn today of our modern computer age. When Ada died - like her father, she was only 36 - great things seemed still to lie ahead for her as a passionate astronomer. Even while mired in debt from gambling and crippled by cancer, she was frenetically employing Faraday's experiments with light refraction to explore the analysis of distant stars. Drawing on fascinating new material, Seymour reveals the ways in which Byron, long after his death, continued to shape the lives and reputations both of his wife and his daughter. During her life, Lady Byron was praised as a paragon of virtue; within ten years of her death, she was vilified as a disgrace to her sex. Well over a hundred years later, Annabella Milbanke is still perceived as a prudish wife and cruelly controlling mother. But her hidden devotion to Byron and her tender ambitions for his mercurial, brilliant daughter reveal a deeply complex but unsuspectedly sympathetic personality. Miranda Seymour has written a masterful portrait of two remarkable women, revealing how two turbulent lives were often governed and always haunted by the dangerously enchanting, quicksilver spirit of that extraordinary father whom Ada never knew.
Following the evolution of Ciaran Carson's work, this book aims to trace the tension between orality and textuality, which can be discerned in the poetry of the Northern-Irish writer. Assuming these forces to be the two major sources of all literature, the author delineates, using deconstruction, how they inform and structure Carson's poetic oeuvre. Further thematic analyses focus on three major themes: memory, city and history, adopting various critical approaches, among them New Historicism and psychoanalysis. Finally, taking cue from Carson's later work, an epistemological and metaphysical dimension of his poetry is revealed. This serves as the final vantage point from which the author offers a potential glimpse beyond the said dialectic, unveiling Carson's broadly ethical project.
For nearly twenty-five years, poet Baron Wormser and his family
lived in a house in Maine with no electricity or running water.
They grew much of their own food, carried water by hand, and read
by the light of kerosene lamps. They considered themselves part of
the "back to the land" movement, but their choice to live off the
grid was neither statement nor protest: they simply had built their
house too far from the road and could not afford to bring in power
lines. Over the years, they settled in to a life that centered on
what Thoreau called "the essential facts."
Mireille Gansel grew up in the traumatic aftermath of her family losing everything-including their native languages-to Nazi Germany. In the 1960s and 70s, she translated poets from East Berlin and Vietnam to help broadcast their defiance to the rest of the world. In this half memoire, half philosophical treatise Gansel's debut illustrates the estrangement every translator experiences for the privilege of moving between tongues, and muses on how translation becomes an exercise of empathy between those in exile.
In the most comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the poetry published in Britain between the Restoration and the end of the eighteenth century, forty-four authorities from six countries survey the poetry of the age in all its richness and diversity-serious and satirical, public and private, by men and women, nobles and peasants, whether published in deluxe editions or sung on the streets. The contributors discuss poems in social contexts, poetic identities, poetic subjects, poetic form, poetic genres, poetic devices, and criticism. Even experts in eighteenth-century poetry will see familiar poems from new angles, and all readers will encounter poems they've never read before. The book is not a chronologically organized literary history, nor an encyclopaedia, nor a collection of thematically related essays; rather it is an attempt to provide a systematic overview of these poetic works, and to restore it to a position of centrality in modern criticism.
The most widely practiced and read form of verse in America, "elegies are poems about being left behind," writes Max Cavitch. American Elegy is the history of a diverse people's poetic experience of mourning and of mortality's profound challenge to creative living. By telling this history in political, psychological, and aesthetic terms, American Elegy powerfully reconnects the study of early American poetry to the broadest currents of literary and cultural criticism. Cavitch begins by considering eighteenth-century elegists such as Franklin, Bradstreet, Mather, Wheatley, Freneau, and Annis Stockton, highlighting their defiance of boundaries--between public and private, male and female, rational and sentimental--and demonstrating how closely intertwined the work of mourning and the work of nationalism were in the revolutionary era. He then turns to elegy's adaptations during the market-driven Jacksonian age, including more obliquely elegiac poems like those of William Cullen Bryant and the popular child elegies of Emerson, Lydia Sigourney, and others. Devoting unprecedented attention to the early African-American elegy, Cavitch discusses poems written by free blacks and slaves, as well as white abolitionists, seeing in them the development of an African-American genealogical imagination. In addition to a major new reading of Whitman's great elegy for Lincoln, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," Cavitch takes up less familiar passages from Whitman as well as Melville's and Lazarus's poems following Lincoln's death. American Elegy offers critical and often poignant insights into the place of mourning in American culture. Cavitch examines literary responses to historicalevents--such as the American Revolution, Native American removal, African-American slavery, and the Civil War--and illuminates the states of loss, hope, desire, and love in American studies today. Max Cavitch is assistant professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.
Throughout his career in poetry, Seamus Heaney maintained roles in education and was a visible presence in the print and broadcast media. Seamus Heaney and Society presents a dynamic new engagement with one of the most celebrated poets of the modern period, examining the ways in which his work as a poet was shaped by his work as a teacher, lecturer, critic, and public figure. Drawing on a range of archival material, this book revives the varied contexts within which Heaney's work was written, published, and circulated. Mindful of the different spheres which surrounded his pursuit of poetry, it assesses his achievements and status in Ireland, Britain, and the United States through close analysis of his work in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, and manuscript drafts of key writings now held in the National Library of Ireland. Asserting the significance of the cultural, institutional, and historical worlds in which Heaney wrote and was read, Seamus Heaney and Society offers a timely reconstruction of the social lives of his work, while also exploring the ways in which he questioned and sustained the privacy and singularity of poetry. Ultimately, it considers how the enduring legacy of a great poet emerges from the working life of a contemporary writer.
Written by one of the editors of the new complete works of Henry Vaughan, Keeping the Ancient Way is the first book-length study of the poet by a single author for twenty years. It deals with a number of key topics that are central to the understanding and appreciation of this major seventeenth-century writer. These include his debt to the hermetic philosophy espoused by his twin brother (the alchemist, Thomas Vaughan); his royalist allegiance in the Civil War; his loyalty to the outlawed Church of England during the Interregnum; the unusual degree of intertextuality in his poetry (especially with the Scriptures and the devotional lyrics of George Herbert); and his literary treatment of the natural world (which has been variously interpreted from Christian, proto-Romantic, and ecological perspectives). Each of the chapters is self-contained and places its topic in relation to past and current critical debates, but the book is organized so that the biographical, intellectual, and political focus of Part One informs the discussion of poetic craftsmanship in Part Two. A wealth of historical information and close critical readings provide an accessible introduction to the poet and his period for students and general readers alike. The up-to-date scholarship will also be of interest to specialists in the literature and history of the Civil War and Interregnum.
A Sun within a Sun is a sustained poetic reflection on the enterprise of poetry, on what poetry is and might be, not only for poet and theorist but also for reader, critic, teacher, and student. It sees poetry as life at its most genuine. Using Baudelaire and Mallarm\u00e9 as principal examples, but drawing on a wide range of poets and thinkers, from Greek mythology to Poe, Rimbaud, Rilke, and Blake; from Nietzsche, Gilles Deleuze, and Italo Calvino to William James and Henry Miller, Claire Chi-ah Lyu challenges contemporary poetic theory, using precise and acute deconstruction of poetic imagery to reconstruct language so that it celebrates both meaning and beauty. A Sun within a Sun explores the notions of lightness and weight, discipline and indulgence, freedom and loss of will that are inherent in the poetic enterprise. It poses that lightness, discipline, freedom, and risk are essential for an approach to the enigma of beauty through an elegant shaping of form that holds true not only in poetry but also in pure science and even fashion. Poetry is a language within a language, a heightened and intense awareness of what words mean and what they can do, at its best creating an intensity of a sun within a sun. The poet and reader of poetry must take the risk Icarus took of approaching the sun, for without the risk there is no fulfillment. A Sun within a Sun seeks a shaping of form and content that discovers poetry as power, as a practice of life that honors and makes possible both thought and feeling.
Life in the United States today is shot through with uncertainty: about our jobs, our mortgaged houses, our retirement accounts, our health, our marriages, and the future that awaits our children. For many, our lives, public and private, have come to feel like the discomfort and unease you experience the day or two before you get really sick. Our life is a scratchy throat. John Marsh offers an unlikely remedy for this widespread malaise: the poetry of Walt Whitman. Mired in personal and political depression, Marsh turned to Whitman--and it saved his life. In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America from Itself is a book about how Walt Whitman can save America's life, too. Marsh identifies four sources for our contemporary malaise (death, money, sex, democracy) and then looks to a particular Whitman poem for relief from it. He makes plain what, exactly, Whitman wrote and what he believed by showing how they emerged from Whitman's life and times, and by recreating the places and incidents (crossing Brooklyn ferry, visiting wounded soldiers in hospitals) that inspired Whitman to write the poems. Whitman, Marsh argues, can show us how to die, how to accept and even celebrate our (relatively speaking) imminent death. Just as important, though, he can show us how to live: how to have better sex, what to do about money, and, best of all, how to survive our fetid democracy without coming away stinking ourselves. The result is a mix of biography, literary criticism, manifesto, and a kind of self-help you're unlikely to encounter anywhere else.
Malcolm Hebron writes with one aim in mind: to help you read, understand and appreciate poetry. The English language has an extraordinarily rich stock of poems to its credit, from the epic Beowulf, written perhaps as early as the eighth century, to the poetry of Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy and the many other fine writers working today. This slim volume is packed with good advice on how to get the most of great poems, whether old or new. Look for the surprising words, for example - that's one good tip. They will help you understand what the poet is trying to say. And look for the conflict in a poem - there's always some kind of central tension or opposition in great poetry. "Out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry," observed W.B. Yeats. This book explains, too, those puzzling technical terms used to describe the tricks poets use, like enjambment, and shows how they use them to brilliant effect. Here are explained too the mysteries of rhythm, sound, meter and poetic imagery, amidst a wide variety of wonderful examples of great poetry, from Thomas Hardy to W.H. Auden. After reading this short book, you will approach any poem you read with fresh eyes.
This work examines the relation of individual poems to the book of poetry as a whole in collections of French lyric poetry from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The contributors address the means by which a body of discrete and self contained poems coalesce into a cohesive unit organized by the poet and not by outside editors or compilers. Although widely divergent in their approaches, the contributors explore how poets resolve the problem of creating a work from a varied poetic production without subordinating the essence of their production, the lyric utterance, to the arrangement that they adopt. Because the essays included here deal with a variety of works from the Middle Ages to the present, historical concepts of order and coherence emerge as essential elements of changing form; poetic collections appear to respond both to earlier forms and to a current sense of order or disorder, continuity or discontinuity.
"True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, / As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance," wrote Alexander Pope. "The dance," in the case of Oliver's brief and luminous book, refers to the interwoven pleasures of sound and sense to be found in some of the most celebrated and beautiful poems in the English language, from Shakespeare to Edna St. Vincent Millay to Robert Frost. With a poet's ear and a poet's grace of expression, Oliver shows what makes a metrical poem work - and enables readers, as only she can, to "enter the thudding deeps and the rippling shallows of sound-pleasure and rhythm-pleasure that intensify both the poem's narrative and its ideas."
The Scottish poet George Lauder began as a "university wit", by imitating anti-papal satires popular in the Italian Renaissance. He set off for London as a young man, looking for patronage, but instead became an officer in the army, seeing service in France, the Low Countries, Germany, Denmark and Sweden -- an experience which provides the backdrop to the poetry of his mature years. At the Restoration he wrote a lengthy poem of advice to Charles II, and his final masterwork was a poetic conflation of the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ. Lauder was influenced by Ben Jonson, William Drummond, and by the Metaphysical and the Caroline styles. His personal library testifies to his wide range of interests, and to his acquaintance with European literature in neo-Latin and other languages. This volume traces Lauder's career, collects all his surviving verse (presented with full notes and commentary), and examines his interactions with certain of the greatest intellectuals of the Dutch Golden Age. Lauder was a British patriot and a loyal supporter of the House of Orange; above all, however, he is the author of a unique corpus of highly accomplished poetry. ALASDAIR A. MACDONALD is Emeritus Professor of English Language and Literature of the Middle Ages, University of Groningen, Netherlands.
This enlightening volume presents minibiographies of key British and American poets who at one time or another worked as journalists. Poets covered range from the famous to the obscure: Whittier to Whitman, Kipling to Bryant, Coleridge to Crane. Writing in a direct, unadorned style, W. Dale Nelson tells each writer's story, often relating how the poet in question felt about the journalistic experience and its impact upon creative work. Archibald MacLeish wrote ""young poets are advised by their elders to avoid the practice of journalism as they would wet socks and gin before breakfast."" On the other hand, Leonard Woolf suggests that Hemingway's strong spare prose often ""bears the mark of good journalism."" The author raises compelling issues about developments in poetic form, effects of printing and communication on poetry, and the relationship of poetry and locales. He also looks at how poetic diction has been influenced by the language of reportage and the basic difference in the purpose of journalism versus that of poetry.
The poetry we call 'alliterative' is recorded in English from the seventh century until the sixteenth, and includes Caedmon's 'Hymn', Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Piers Plowman. These are some of the most admired works of medieval English literature, and also among the most enigmatic. The formal practice of alliterative poets exceeded the conceptual grasp of medieval literary theory; theorists are still playing catch-up today. This book explains the distinctive nature of alliterative meter, explores its differences from subsequent accentual-syllabic forms, and advances a reformed understanding of medieval English literary history. The startling formal variety of Piers Plowman and other Middle English alliterative poems comes into sharper focus when viewed in diachronic perspective: the meter was in transition; to understand it, we need to know where it came from and where it was headed at the moment it died out.
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