ISBN 10: 9626349158 / ISBN 13: 9789626349151
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Inhaltsangabe: English literature is a treasure trove of wonderful poetry. From Shakespeare to Milton, Keats to Shelley and Tennyson to Yeats, this accessible history (especially written for Naxos AudioBooks) introduces the listener to countless small masterpieces, including all the old favorites and some lesser-known gems. Whitfield explores this most expressive of art forms and traces the historical development of a rich and diverse canon of poetical works. The lyrical powers of the most remarkable poets of the English language are illustrated with over 70 extracts. This is the latest release from Naxos AudioBooks successful History series, which includes accounts of English literature, theatre and opera.

Review: Jacobi injects drama into this erudite yet fast-paced journey from 'Beowulf' to the modern myth of Eliot, illustrating through scores of generous quotations Emily Dickinson's definition of poetry as the "cold which no fire can warm'. --Rachel Redford, The Observer

A history of 600 years of poetry is a daunting row to hoe, so let's start not with Beowulf (which is Danish anyway) but with the 1557 anthology Songs and Sonnets and see how, circa 400 years later, we arrive at Disillusionment of Ten O'clock, my favourite Wallace Stevens poem, published in 1923. That, by the way, is not Whitfield's cut-off point, it's mine. He soldiers bravely and chronologically through his leviathan list of poetic categories - medieval, Elizabethan, metaphysical, Cavalier, graveyard, Augustan, romantic, Hartford wits, Victorian, confessional, Georgian, war, modern, new apocalypse, postmodern, ending with performance poetry - but I incline to Macaulay's view that 'as civilisation advances, poetry almost necessarily declines'. Thomas Wyatt's poem in Songs and Sonnets, says Whitfield, shattered the medieval moral narrative tradition. Its title, The Lover Showeth How He Is Forsaken of Such as He Sometime Enjoyed, does not sound promising. Read on. 'They flee from me that sometime did me seek / With naked foot stalking in my chamber. / I have seen them gentle, tame and meek, / That now are wild, and do not once remember / That sometime they have put themselves in danger / To take bread at my hand; and now they range, / Busily seeking with a continual change. / Thank'd be fortune it hath been otherwise, / Twenty times better; but once especial, / In thin array, after a pleasant guise, / When her loose gown did from her shoulders fall, / And she me caught in her arms long and small, / Therewith all sweetly did me kiss, / And softly said, Dear heart, how like you this?' Sensuous, mysterious, intellectual and above all personal, this melodious crystallisation of emotion was like nothing previously classed as poetry and set the stage for the Elizabethan golden age. Thence to the whole glorious canon of poetic greats - Donne, Milton, Blake, Keats, Hopkins, Frost, Dickinson, Yeats and, yes, in my book, Stevens. If poetry truly is the alchemy of words and the music of ideas, he has to be in the premier league. 'The houses are haunted / By white night-gowns. / None are green, / Or purple with green rings, / Or green with yellow rings, /Or yellow with blue rings. / None of them are strange, / With socks of lace, / And beaded ceintures. / People are not going / To dream of baboons and periwinkles. / Only, here and there, an old sailor, / Drunk and asleep in his boots, / Catches tigers / In red weather.' Don't ask me what it means, just listen to it. Whitfield's history is less a textbook than a rough guide, but if his enthusiasm doesn't inspire you to buy a volume of Swinburne - aristo, atheist, aesthete, alcoholic, sadomasochist - I'll be surprised. --Sue Arnold, The Guardian

Derek Jacobi brings this production together with a clear and lively narration of its introduction. The collection is a general presentation, rather than a scholarly tome, on the evolution of the idea of English poetry (and its American cousins and influences) and where readers fit into the tradition. In each era, the text addresses the question of what a poem was expected to be and do. These are illustrated by thoughtfully interpreted readings from works by more than a hundred poets by a group of skilled Naxos narrators. This critical history traces poets from Chaucer to Allen Ginsberg. --D.M.H., AudioFile

For lovers of poetry, there is the excellent and fascinating audiobook, The History of English Poetry, read by famous actor Derek Jacobi (think Brother Cadfael and I, Claudius). The original book was written by Peter Whitfield, whose sweeping command of the subject gives us a wonderful look into the rich and centuries' old tradition of English poetry from the earliest writers to the present. While Jacobi reads the bulk of the book in his mellifluous voice, other readers bring to life various poems quoted within it, thus giving this work authenticity and colour to hold the listener's interest. --Alide Kohlhaas, Seniors Review

Derek Jacobi brings this production together with a clear and lively narration of its introduction. The collection is a general presentation, rather than a scholarly tome, on the evolution of the idea of English poetry (and its American cousins and influences) and where readers fit into the tradition. In each era, the text addresses the question of what a poem was expected to be and do. These are illustrated by thoughtfully interpreted readings from works by more than a hundred poets by a group of skilled Naxos narrators. This critical history traces poets from Chaucer to Allen Ginsberg. --D.M.H., AudioFile

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