The last century was characterised by an extraordinary flowering of the art of poetry in Britain. These specially commissioned essays by some of the most highly regarded poetry critics offer a stimulating and reliable overview of English poetry of the twentieth century. The opening section on contexts will both orientate readers relatively new to the field and provide provocative syntheses for those already familiar with it. Following the terms introduced by this section, individual chapters cover many ways of looking at the 'modern', the 'modernist' and the 'postmodern'. The core of the volume is made up of extensive discussions of individual poets, from W. B. Yeats and W. H. Auden to contemporary poets such as Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy. In its coverage of the development, themes and contexts of modern poetry, this Companion is the most useful guide available for students, lecturers and readers.
Shakespeare is a major influence on poets writing in English, but the dynamics of that influence in the twentieth century have never been as closely analysed as they are in this important study. More than an account of the ways in which Shakespeare is figured in both the poetry and the critical prose of modern poets, this book presents a provocative new view of poetic interrelationship. Focusing on W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, Neil Corcoran uncovers the relationships - combative as well as sympathetic - between these poets themselves as they are intertwined in their engagements with Shakespeare. Corcoran offers many enlightening close readings, fully alert to contemporary theoretical debates. This original study of influence and reception beautifully displays the nature of poetic influence - both of Shakespeare on the twentieth century, and among modern poets as they respond to Shakespeare.
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