Auto boutiques-francophones Simple and secure cloud storage Personal Care Cook Music Deals Store NFL Tools
The History of English Poetry and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
CDN$ 41.98
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
The History Of English Po... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The History Of English Poetry Audio CD – Sep 1 2009

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Audio CD
"Please retry"
CDN$ 41.98
CDN$ 24.42 CDN$ 42.53

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product Details

Product Description


Jacobi injects drama into this erudite yet fast-paced journey from 'Beowulf' to the modern myth of Eliot, illustrating through scores of generous quotations Emily Dickinson's definition of poetry as the "cold which no fire can warm'. - Rachel Redford, The Observer A history of 600 years of poetry is a daunting row to hoe, so let's start not with Beowulf (which is Danish anyway) but with the 1557 anthology Songs and Sonnets and see how, circa 400 years later, we arrive at Disillusionment of Ten O'clock, my favourite Wallace Stevens poem, published in 1923. That, by the way, is not Whitfield's cut-off point, it's mine. He soldiers bravely and chronologically through his leviathan list of poetic categories - medieval, Elizabethan, metaphysical, Cavalier, graveyard, Augustan, romantic, Hartford wits, Victorian, confessional, Georgian, war, modern, new apocalypse, postmodern, ending with performance poetry - but I incline to Macaulay's view that 'as civilisation advances, poetry almost necessarily declines'. Thomas Wyatt's poem in Songs and Sonnets, says Whitfield, shattered the medieval moral narrative tradition. Its title, The Lover Showeth How He Is Forsaken of Such as He Sometime Enjoyed, does not sound promising. Read on. 'They flee from me that sometime did me seek / With naked foot stalking in my chamber. / I have seen them gentle, tame and meek, / That now are wild, and do not once remember / That sometime they have put themselves in danger / To take bread at my hand; and now they range, / Busily seeking with a continual change. / Thank'd be fortune it hath been otherwise, / Twenty times better; but once especial, / In thin array, after a pleasant guise, / When her loose gown did from her shoulders fall, / And she me caught in her arms long and small, / Therewith all sweetly did me kiss, / And softly said, Dear heart, how like you this?A"' Sensuous, mysterious, intellectual and above all personal, this melodious crystallisation of emotion was like nothing previously classed as poetry and set the stage for the Elizabethan golden age. Thence to the whole glorious canon of poetic greats - Donne, Milton, Blake, Keats, Hopkins, Frost, Dickinson, Yeats and, yes, in my book, Stevens. If poetry truly is the alchemy of words and the music of ideas, he has to be in the premier league. 'The houses are haunted / By white night-gowns. / None are green, / Or purple with green rings, / Or green with yellow rings, /Or yellow with blue rings. / None of them are strange, / With socks of lace, / And beaded ceintures. / People are not going / To dream of baboons and periwinkles. / Only, here and there, an old sailor, / Drunk and asleep in his boots, / Catches tigers / In red weather.' Don't ask me what it means, just listen to it. Whitfield's history is less a textbook than a rough guide, but if his enthusiasm doesn't inspire you to buy a volume of Swinburne - aristo, atheist, aesthete, alcoholic, sadomasochist - I'll be surprised. - Sue Arnold, The Guardian

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
Peter Whitfield follows the development of English poetry in its historical milieu making cross-cultural comparisons. May 2 2014
By Roberto Fideli - Published on
This is a history and collection of poetry in English language in 7 CDs which last more than 8 hours. One can also buy the book English poetry by the same author. The Norton Anthology of English literature in two volumes is another qualified source for university students of English literature. In addition to the voice of Derek Jacobi, there are females voices, particularly for the female poets as Elizabeth Barrett Browning. As a historian Peter Whitfield follows the development of poetry placing it in its historical milieu. The insertion of passages by American poets inspires interesting cross-cultural comparisons. The divinization of nature, that is pantheism, a word coined by the philosopher Toland in 1704, was a common theme both for the American Ralph Waldo Emerson and for the English William Wordsworth. But, since its beginning, American poetry is characterized by an emphasis on introspection.

Roberto Fideli ([...])