Synopses & Reviews
Anthologies of eighteenth-century verse have tended to confirm traditional notions of the period as one of untroubled elegance, urbanity, and decorum. Offering over 550 poems and extracts by more than 250 poets, The New Oxford Book of Eighteenth-Century Verse
presents a truer picture of this age as a much less stable and decorous time.
This extraordinarily comprehensive volume includes not only a generous selection of verse by such renowned poets as Swift, Pope, Johnson, Gray, Smart, Goldsmith, Cowper, Blake, and Burns, but also a large number of poems by lesser-known and previously ignored poets. Intermixing the familiar styles and preoccupations of "polite" taste with much less familiar verse from all social levels, it reveals the willingness of the century's poets to respond graphically, humorously, or unconventionally to all aspects of rural and urban life. Topics range from golf and hypnotism to amorous adventure and marital discord, from growing sensitivity to natural beauty to fear of the effects of the Industrial Revolution, and from the anguish of poverty and unemployment to animated political exchanges in the wake of the French Revolution. Taken together, these poems reveal that both unpredictability and familiarity played as significant a role as Augustan reason played in the world of eighteenth-century poetry. The anthology also includes a helpful introduction, notes, and a glossary.
About the Author
About the Editor
Roger Lonsdale is Fellow and Tutor in English at Balliol College, Oxford University. He is also the author of Dr. Charles Burney and The Poems of Gray, Collins and Goldsmith.