Classic Writings on Poetry

Classic Writings on Poetry

By: William Harmon (editor)Hardback

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The poet is the sayer, the namer, and represents beauty. He is a sovereign, and stands on the centre.-Ralph Waldo Emerson, from "The Poet" "[The poet] is a seer...he is individual...he is complete in himself...the others are as good as he, only he sees it and they do not. He is not one of the chorus. "-Walt Whitman, from the preface to Leaves of Grass Poetry has always given rise to interpretation, judgment, and controversy. Indeed, the history of poetry criticism is as rich and varied a journey as the history of poetry itself. But classic writings such as Emerson's essay "The Poet" and Whitman's preface to Leaves of Grass serve as more than a critical "call and response": the works are striking examples of how the finest poets themselves have written on poetics and the works of their peers and predecessors-revealing, in the process, much about the theory and passion behind their own works. Spanning thousands of years and including thirty-three of the most influential critical essays ever written, Classic Writings on Poetry is the first major anthology of criticism devoted exclusively to poetry. Beginning with a survey of the history of poetics and providing an introduction and brief biography for each reading, esteemed poet and critic William Harmon takes readers from Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Poetics to the Norse mythology of Snorri Sturluson's Skaldskaparmal. John Dryden's An Essay of Dramatic Poesy and Shelley's A Defence of Poetry are included, as is an excerpt from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's verse novel Aurora Leigh, arriving, finally, at the modernist sensibility of "Poetic Reality and Critical Unreality," by Laura (Riding) Jackson. For anyone interested in the art and artifice of poetry, Classic Writings on Poetry is a journey well worth taking.

About Author

Poet, critic, and anthologist, William Harmon is the James Gordon Hanes Professor in the Humanities (English and Comparative Literature) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the editor of The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, The Top 500 Poems, and The Classic Hundred Poems, all published by Columbia, as well as The Oxford Book of American Light Verse.


Introduction 1. The Republic (excerpt), by Plato 2. Poetics, by Aristotle 3. "Ars Poetica," by Horace 4. Germania (excerpt), by Publius Cornelius Tacitus 5. "On the Sublime" (excerpt), by Longinus(?) 6. Skaldskaparmal, by Snorri Sturluson 7. The Defence of Poesy, by Sir Philip Sidney 8. "Of Education" (excerpt), by John Milton 9. An Essay of Dramatic Poesy, by John Dryden 10. An Essay on Criticism, by Alexander Pope Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot 11. Lives of the Poets (excerpts), by Samuel Johnson "Life of Milton" "Preface to Abraham Cowley" "Life of Dryden" "Life of Thomas Gray" 12. The Progress of Poesy, by Thomas Gray 13. Observations Prefixed to Lyrical Ballads, by William Wordsworth 14. Biographia Literaria, Chapter XIV, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge 15. The State of Modern Poetry (excerpt), by Francis Jeffrey 16. On Poetry in General (excerpt), by William Hazlitt 17. The Four Ages of Poetry (excerpt), by Thomas Love Peacock 18. English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (excerpt), by George Gordon, Lord Byron 19. A Defence of Poetry, by Percy Bysshe Shelley 20. The Poet, by William Cullen Bryant 21. Poems, by John Keats 22. The Poet (excerpt), by Ralph Waldo Emerson 23. Aurora Leigh, Fifth Book (excerpt), by Elizabeth Barrett Browning 24. Poems, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 25. The Philosophy of Composition, by Edgar Allan Poe 26. Preface to Leaves of Grass, first edition (1855, excerpt), by Walt Whitman 27. The Study of Poetry, by Matthew Arnold 28. Poems, by Emily Dickinson 29. "Proofs of Holy Writ", by Rudyard Kipling 30. A Retrospect, by Ezra Pound 31. The Possibility of a Poetic Drama, by T. S. Eliot 32. Poetic Reality and Critical Unreality, by Laura (Riding) Jackson

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780231123709
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 560
  • ID: 9780231123709
  • ISBN10: 0231123701

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