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The Complete Poems Paperback – September 1, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"'Bawdy in thought, precise in words.' Rochester's description of the court prostitute in the poem 'On Mistress Willis' might equally describe himself. The earl's mind is never far from 'love's theatre,' as he calls bed. His love poems are tender, explicit, funny... If this guy was living today, I'd be camping out at the gates to his castle." -- Kathleen Ferguson, Irish Times

About the Author

Vieth was professor of English at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
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Product Details

  • Series: Yale Nota Bene
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; New edition edition (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300097131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300097139
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,072,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on July 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Earl of Rochester lived a life worthy of Tom Jones. He was indeed a deabauched libertine, slightly less worthy of censure than the Marquis de Sade. Yet he was something that De Sade was not, a great wit. Though nowhere near the range or genius of Pope or Swift, he nevertheless compiled a great body of satirical poetry in the Juvenalian tradition. His "Satyre Against Mankind," Like Swift's Houyhnhnms chapters, present human beings in their true place in nature, despite all the panegyrics and biblical references placing us at the top of the chain. If you are lover of satire, as I am, and don't mind observations that place us amongst the lower orders rather than atop some Parnassian peak, give this volume a try.
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The Earl of Rochester was the favorite courtier of Charles II of England during a time called the Restoration. The English civil war was over, the puritanical visions of Oliver Cromwell were rejected, and the fun began again. Rochester loved women, he loved making love, he was a skirt chaser, a sexual addict, and he wrote about his addiction with force, fun, and fame. Every dirty word you can think of is here, sometimes elegantly, sometimes not. He's rarely taught in courses of English literature because of his utter frankness in describing the love act, in describing women's bodies and scents and flesh. My goodness, what a guy!!!
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Satire and wit bring together a healthy mix of thinking from the past when compared with present day writers who are less skilled with the English language.
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The 2nd Earl of Rochester (John Wilmot) is one of our greatest love poets in the English language. He and his work have been neglected in previous times because of the debauched lifestyle he had led and what was once perceived as the obscene nature of some of his poetry. Today, these poems are recognized as some of the most beautiful erotic verse ever written. They speak of every kind of sexual love, from unrequited love to fulfilled love, from young love to the nastalgia of remembering long-ago love, from ethereal love to barnyard lust--it's all there. Many of his more racy poems have been lost down the centuries through lack of publication, censorship and other similar factors, but much of his best work survives.
I like Rochester's poems for the colorful use of language they possess, the depths of passionate sentiment they convey, and the understanding of eroticism that is so characteristic of this great poet's work[...]
David Rehak
author of "Poems From My Bleeding Heart"
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