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The Oxford Book of Eighteenth Century Verse

ISBN 019280491X / 9780192804914 / 0-19-280491-X

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Book summary

This extraordinarily comprehensive volume includes not only a generous selection of verse by such renowned poets as Swift, Pope, Johnson, Gray, Smart, Goldsmith, Cowper, Blake, and Burns, but also a large number of poems by lesser-known and previously ignored poets. Intermixing the familiar styles and preoccupations of "polite" taste with much less familiar verse from all social levels, it reveals the willingness of the century's poets to respond graphically, humorously, or unconventionally to all aspects of rural and urban life. Topics range from golf and hypnotism to amorous adventure and marital discord, from growing sensitivity to natural beauty to fear of the effects of the Industrial Revolution, and from the anguish of poverty and unemployment to animated political exchanges in the wake of the French Revolution.

Taken together, these poems reveal that both unpredictability and familiarity played as significant a role as Augustan reason played in the world of eighteenth-century poetry. The collection also includes a helpful introduction, notes, and a glossary.

"A major event, the fruit of years of reading.... Enthralling: it enforces a reappraisal of what eighteenth-century poetry is."--The Times (London) [via]