Nineteenth-Century Minor Poets

W. H. Auden
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ISBN 9780571259731 Format Paperback
Published 18/02/2010 Length 406 pages

About Book

Who is a major, who is a minor poet? Inevitably, in his introduction, W. H. Auden offers a stimulating rationale for distinguishing between the two. To paraphrase him, one cannot say that a major poet always writes better poems than a minor poet. Nor is it a matter of pleasure the poet gives an individual reader - Auden himself confesses to not liking Shelley but being 'delighted by every line of William Barnes', but not doubting for a moment the former is a major poet and the latter a minor one. One does not always enjoy what one most admires. Yet everyone is to some extent familiar with the work of the major nineteenth century poets and few have had the chance to read the patriotic poems of Thomas Campbell, several of which rank among the finest such poems in English literature, the songs of Tom Moore or his political and social satires, the humorous verse of Thomas Hood, the superb lyrics of Thomas Lovell Beddoes, the odes of Coventry Patmore, the satirical poems of Samuel Butler. These poets and many more are discerningly represented in this anthology which puts into the limelight every genuine minor poet (they must have written at least one good poem) born between 1770 and 1870.
  • About W. H. Auden

    W. H. Auden was born in York in 1907 and brought up in Birmingham. His first book, Poems, was published by T. S. Eliot at Faber in 1930. He went to Spain during the civil war, to Iceland (with Louis MacNeice) and later travelled to China. In 1939 he and Christopher Isherwood left for America, where Auden spent the next fifteen years lecturing, reviewing, writing poetry and opera librettos, and editing anthologies. He became an American citizen in 1946, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1948. In 1956 he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and a year later went to live in Kirchstetten in Austria, after spending several summers on Ischia. He died in Vienna in 1973.

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