Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Landscape in Poetry

Francis T. Palgrave - Landscape in Poetry: From Homer to Tennyson (1897)

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Several years after editing The Golden Treasury Palgrave wrote this study, mainly covering classical and English poetry with a few sidetrips to Hebrew, Italian and Gaelic.  I have a weakness for this type of criticism that is written with a personality (the too-Victorian "Chaucer lacks personal loyalty to womanhood; how unlike Spencer or Shakespeare!") while also showing familiarity with writers that are barely names now (Claudian, Lydgate, Ebenezer Elliott?),  Filled with excerpts the book also (like one of Edmund Wilson's) acts as an anthology - classical writers are given in translation with the original in footnotes.  Oddly Clare gets just three pages despite the book's subject - he practically deserves a chapter though this was shortly before the big revival of interest in his work.