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Item Title:

The Oxford Book of English Verse

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Books, Comics, Magazines

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Item Condition: New
Current Time:21 Jan 17 14:47:09
Time & Date displayed is forUnited States - EDT
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Item Specifics - Books ISBN : 9780192141828
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13.36 15306391 The Oxford Book of English Verse http://medium.snazal.com/?9780192141828 http://large.snazal.com/?9780192141828 9780192141828 9780192141828 Media Books 13.20 The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Title: The Oxford Book of English Verse

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ISBN: 9780192141828
Sku Code: 9780192141828
Media > Books
The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Let's get one thing straight. Christopher Ricks' 1999 version of The Oxford Book of English Verse contains some of the finest poetry the world has ever seen. Judiciously selected and beautifully produced, this anthology will reward both poetry virgins and over-versed roués with its canny and sometimes inspired pairing of lines familiar and obscure, and its original inclusion of translated and dramatic verse (which allows in some of the Bard's great lines). From the 13th-century "Sumer is icumen in" through to Seamus Heaney's "The Pitchfork", Ricks selects 822 poems from more than 200 writers--Shakespeare comes out on top, but there are strong showings from Wyatt, Sidney, Jonson, Milton, Pope, Blake, Wordsworth, Tennyson and Hardy, alongside memorable nursery rhymes, and some under-anthologised women writers, such as Mary Robinson, Jane Taylor and Frances Cornford. Anyone who cares about literature in the English language will want this on their shelf. But anyone who cares about literature in the English language will also have serious reservations about what Ricks has done with this most revered of institutions. When Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch wrote his preface to the first edition in October 1900, his agenda was quite clear. He had "tried to range over the whole field of English Verse from the beginning, or from the Thirteeth Century to this closing year of the Nineteenth, and to choose the best. Nor I have I sought in these Islands only, but wheresoever the Muse has followed the tongue which among living tongues she most delights to honour. To bring home and render so great a spoil compendiously has been my capital difficulty." The metaphors of imperial colonialism spoke confusedly as the Muse followed the English tongue throughout the world and the anthologist brought back the rewards it wrought and wreaked. A century later, and the project of "English verse" has lost its imperial certainty. Ricks states categorically that his "does not seek to be a book of Anglophone verse, of verse in the English language whatever its provenance." This leads to some anomalies. He takes American verse only to the 1770s, but is happy to include verse from the Republic of Ireland. As for verse from the Commonwealth (pre-independence)--"I judged reluctantly that pre-independence poetry had not achieved poetic independence (freedom from diluted fashion), had not given to the world such poetic accomplishments as would constitute a claim to the pages of an anthology of the best in English poetry." Discuss. And so Ricks' "English verse" is, with a few exceptions, "verse from England", and fairly senior verse at that--the juniors here are Thom Gunn, Derek Walcott and Seamus Heaney. Ricks admits that "most of us are not good at appreciating the poetry of those appreciably younger than we are." That's a shame, because it denies The Oxford Book of English Verse a proactive role in disseminating the work of young poets (and we're talking under 60 here) from a diversity of backgrounds using the English language. What he has undoubtedly produced, however, is an invaluable record of the past glories of English poetry which will continue to inspire readers and poets, whatever their age, wherever they are. --Alan Stewart

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