Back in print after 17 years, this is a concise history of rhetoric as it relates to structure, genre, and style, with special reference to English literature and literary criticism from Ancient Greece to the end of the 18th century.
The core of the book is a quite original argument that the figures of rhetoric were not mere mechanical devices, were not, as many believed, a "nuisance, a quite sterile appendage to rhetoric to which (unaccountably) teachers, pupils, and writers all over the world devoted much labor for over 2,000 years." Rather, Vickers demonstrates, rhetoric was a stylized representation of language and human feelings.
Vickers supplements his argument through analyses of the rhetorical and emotional structure of four Renaissance poems. He also defines 16 of the most common figures of rhetoric, citing examples from the classics, the Bible, and major English poets from Chaucer to Pope.
To find a personal style is, for a writer, to become adult; and to write one’s first “perfect” poem—a poem that wholly and successfully embodies that style—is to come of age as a poet. By looking at the precedents, circumstances, and artistry of the first perfect poems composed by John Milton, John Keats, T. S. Eliot, and Sylvia Plath, Coming of Age as a Poet offers rare insight into this mysterious process, and into the indispensable period of learning and experimentation that precedes such poetic achievement.Milton’s L’Allegro, Keats’s On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer, Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and Plath’s The Colossus are the poems that Helen Vendler considers, exploring each as an accession to poetic confidence, mastery, and maturity. In meticulous and sympathetic readings of the poems, and with reference to earlier youthful compositions, she delineates the context and the terms of each poet’s self-discovery—and illuminates the private, intense, and ultimately heroic effort and endurance that precede the creation of any memorable poem.With characteristic precision, authority, and grace, Vendler helps us to appreciate anew the conception and the practice of poetry, and to observe at first hand the living organism that breathes through the words of a great poem.
World War I is widely considered “the Great War” and World War II, “the Good War.” Janis Stout thinks of them as two parts of a whole that continues to engage historians and literary scholars searching for an understanding of both the actual war experiences and the modern culture of grief they embody. In Coming Out of War: Poetry, Grieving, and the Culture of the World Wars Stout argues that poetry, of all the arts, most fully captures and conveys those cultural responses.
While probing the work of such well known war poets as Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, and Randall Jarrell, Stout also highlights the impact of the wars on lesser studied, but equally compelling, sources such as the music of Charles Ives and Cole Porter, Aaron Copland and Irving Berlin. She challenges the commonplace belief that war poetry came only from the battlefield and was written only by men by examining the wartime writings of women poets such as Rose Macaulay, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, and Gwendolyn Brooks. She also challenges the assumption that World War II did not produce poetry of distinction by studying the work of John Ciardi, Karl Shapiro, Louis Simpson, Robert Frost, and Wallace Stevens. While emphasizing aesthetic continuity between the wars, Stout stresses that the poetry that emerged from each displays a greater variety than is usually recognized.
This volume is a companion to The Old English and Anglo-Latin Riddle Tradition. Its extensive notes and commentary on hundreds of Latin, Old English, and Old Norse–Icelandic riddles illuminate and clarify the multifaceted and interconnected nature of a broad, international tradition. Within this commentary, readers will encounter a deep reservoir of knowledge about riddles produced in both Latin and Old English during the Anglo-Saxon period, and the literatures with which they were in dialogue.Riddles range from those by prominent authors like Aldhelm, Bede, Alcuin, and Boniface to those presented anonymously in collections such as the Exeter Book. All are fully discussed, with particular attention paid to manuscript traditions, subject matter, solutions, style, sources, parallels, and recommendations for further reading. Consideration is given to running themes throughout the collection, comparisons to other riddles and to other literature more broadly, and important linguistic observations and manuscript readings. The commentary also lists the manuscripts and earlier editions for each riddle, extensive catalogues of proposed solutions, and additional bibliographic references. Following the general discussion of each riddle there is detailed line-by-line annotation.This authoritative commentary is the most comprehensive examination to date of the bilingual riddle tradition of Anglo-Saxon England and its links to the wider world.
In Contemporary Irish Poetry and the Pastoral Tradition, Donna L. Potts closely examines the pastoral genre in the work of six Irish poets writing today. Through the exploration of the poets and their works, she reveals the wide range of purposes that pastoral has served in both Northern Ireland and the Republic: a postcolonial critique of British imperialism; a response to modernity, industrialization, and globalization; a way of uncovering political and social repercussions of gendered representations of Ireland; and, more recently, a means for conveying environmentalism’s more complex understanding of the value of nature.
In an important distinction from other studies of Irish poetry, Potts moves beyond the influence of history and politics on contemporary Irish pastoral poetry to consider the relatively recent influence of ecology. Contemporary Irish poets often rely on the motif of the pastoral retreat to highlight various environmental threats to those retreats—whether they be high-rises, motorways, global warming, or acid rain. Potts concludes by speculating on the future of pastoral in contemporary Irish poetry through her examination of more recent poets—including Moya Cannon and Paula Meehan—as well as other genres such as film, drama, and fiction.
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