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The first in a trio of anthologies by Geoffrey Grigson (The Romantics, Before the Romantics and The Victorians) that are both highly entertaining and provide a fresh approach to the ideas of an age. Primarily anthologies of poetry, with prose from the era to illustrate it, they have been universally praised for their great scope and their original take on English literature.
In his preface to this widely commended anthology, Grigson writes ‘The thing to do about the Romantics is to read them and look – if you can find them – at their pictures; not only that, but to forget some of the abstract theorizing of the school books, and to follow them in their actuality’. His finely judged collection allows the reader to do just that. Coleridge, Keats and Shelley of course form the core of the book, but are supported by Gainsborough and Palmer, Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville, and Polidori and Dorothy Wordsworth. It is not just the wide range of writers, but the careful selection of their pieces that makes The Romantics a richly rewarding and illuminating volume.
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