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.
©2009 Naxos Audiobooks; (P)2009 Naxos Audiobooks
This is an engaging survey of English language poetry, incorporating poems from both England and America. The mark of a good survey is that is leaves you wanting to dig deeper into the subject, and this certainly book does that. The book covers not only different poets, but the development of poetry over the centuries, and it left me wanting more.
Derek Jacobi is an excellent reader, but he doesn't read most of the poems. The readers of the poems are themselves good, but be warned: poetry takes more concentration and involvement than our multi-tasking, couch-potato society is used to, and you'll find yourself rewinding to rehear many of the poems. It is well worth it.
The combination of the writing and narration is so stimulating that I often had to pause it so I could consider what I just heard. I enjoyed the general sweep of the history and discovered some poetry not previously on my radar.
I would have never believed that Derek Jacobi could sound as dull as any college professor until I started listening to this book. It made me leave the book, then come back to it, only to leave again. Yet my love of poetry is so strong, I kept coming back.
Then I found my mistake. It was not Mr. Jacobi who made the book hard to listen to. It was the poetry, the old 'must be translated into modern English to understand' poetry. For after Spense comes Shakespeare and then (for me) the poems begin to sing and Derek Jacobi's wondrous voice gave the poems wings.
So I listened, and back tracked, and listened again. Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Browning, Kipling, Whitman, Longfellow ... and the list goes on. Not enough of any one poet, just a reminder of the feasts they have laid before me.
So now I have pulled my dusty poetry books from the shelf and begun to read again.
"An Excellent introduction"
I was expecting an anthology but this is a narrative history of the arts with examples read to illustrate the story. For a person like me who has little understanding of poetry this reaally gives a great overview. It is very well read by the narrator as well. It left me wanting to listen to more poetry
"profoundly illuminating and worth every penny"
I struggled to understand poetry before this book but brilliantly explained and narrated a revelation
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