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Immortal Poems of the English Language Mass Market Paperback – August 3, 1983
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About the Author
Mr. Williams achieved literary distinction not only as a highly original and vigorous American poet, but also as one of the great poetry anthologists of his time. His most outstanding anthologies are "The Little Treasury Series," The War Poets, Immortal Poems of the English Language, The Pocket Book of Modern Verse and The New Pocket Anthology of American Verse, the latter three published by Pocket Books. These are accepted as present-day classics in their fields and are in wide use in colleges and universities. Other anthologies include a revised edition of Palgrave's The Golden Treasury, The Major British Poets, The Major American Poets, and The Silver Treasury of Light Verse.
Mr. Williams' last and most ambitious anthology was Master Poems of the English Language, now also published by Pocket Books. A huge work of over 1100 pages, illustrated with portraits of the poets and combining a comprehensive anthology with a broad sampling of critical writing, it is a superb contribution by the man Robert Lowell called "probably the best anthologist in America."
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Top Customer Reviews
The poetry is arranged chronologically by poet - it begins with Chaucer and contemporary anonymous compositions, and proceeds through the various literary time periods to the present day. All of the greats are to be found here: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Byron, Yeats, Wordsworth (the list can go on and on) as well as some lesser-known but nonetheless great versifiers such a Peele, Cowley, and Landor.
These are pieces of the English language, from the Middle English of Chaucer (presented without translation or notes) quickly getting to more modern recognisable texts. The poets come from all around the world; English as a literary language was carried forth by the British Empire, and English poetry now belongs, as a product and as an instrument of creativity.
As befits his status as the greatest of English poets, Shakespeare has more pages than any other (29 pages), and some pieces come from the plays rather than his poetry proper. Some poets of giant stature (Chaucer, the first poet in the anthology) seem to get short-shrift here (none of the Canterbury Tales is included; Longfellow and Elizabeth Barrett Browning have less than one page each). However, taken as an accessible, overall compilation, this gives a great insight into the pattern of development of a poetical language.
Being available as a portable paperback, this book has been a frequent travel companion.Read more ›
As for content, all the major poets are more or less liberally represented. Cummings gets short shrift, and several of Yeats' most memorable pieces "An Irish Airman Forsees His Death", for one) are excluded. Yet I am certain novice and old hand alike will find this work passes the time admirably.
Having been with me through several housheold moves, military action, and cramped backpacks no self-respecting piece of literature should have to endure, my copy is now fairly falling apart. Yet when it expires, I will buy another copy. No other anthology, especially in terms of price, convenience, and memories, could ever compare.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Had to get this after a brain injury and read allowed, I still hate poetry mostly because I'm not that smart with the english language before or after!Published 11 days ago by honorsyaya
This is a good place to start reading poetry since it has all the greats in one place.Published 3 months ago by Cody Brooks
My tattered volume, purchased in the 1970's, falling apart, I purchased a new one. No better single, portable, comprehensive poetry anthology. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Nancy K. Tamarisk
I will keep this short and sweet. I have bought several anthologies of poems and this is the best by far. Read morePublished 14 months ago by John Sander
This is my forth copy of this book. I keep wearing them outPublished 14 months ago by John Robertson