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‘The most compelling of anthologies, the most leisurely, and the most complete.’ Observer
First published in 1923, the conception of de la Mare’s collection of poetry and prose ‘for the young of all ages’ had been in the poet’s mind for some time. He wanted it to transcend the ordinary anthology, to have real unity and to be a true introduction to poetry. The result was, in its time, a completely original book, personal and creative – pervaded by his own company throughout.
Come Hither takes its unity from de la Mare’s introduction, an allegorical prose fable, the subtle and playful references of which are echoed throughout the proceeding collection. The anthology’s ecstatic variety, where ‘unofficial poetry’, such as counting-out rhymes, appear on equal terms alongside Keats’s Odes, suggests a relation between childhood and poetry that is at once serious and radiantly spontaneous. Together with the children’s literature aspect, it also provides a selection of the leading Georgian poets and is arguably the best account of their ‘hinterland’, documenting their prevailing thematic concerns alongside a selection of their predecessors.
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