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The Best Poems of the English Language: From…
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The Best Poems of the English Language: From Chaucer Through Robert Frost (2004)

by Harold Bloom

Other authors: Léonie Adams (Contributor), Conrad Aiken (Contributor), Matthew Arnold (Contributor), Thomas Lovell Beddoes (Contributor), William Blake (Contributor)97 more, Louise Bogan (Contributor), Robert Bridges (Contributor), Emily Brontë (Contributor), Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Contributor), Robert Browning (Contributor), William Cullan Bryant (Contributor), Robert Burns (Contributor), George Gordon Byron, Lord (Contributor), Thomas Campion (Contributor), Thomas Carew (Contributor), Lewis Carroll (Contributor), Geoffrey Chaucer (Contributor), John Clare (Contributor), John Cleveland (Contributor), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Contributor), William Collins (Contributor), William Cowper (Contributor), Hart Crane (Contributor), Stephen Crane (Contributor), Richard Crashaw (Contributor), George Darley (Contributor), Emily Dickinson (Contributor), John Donne (Contributor), Ernest Dowson (Contributor), Michael Drayton (Contributor), John Dryden (Contributor), William Dunbar (Contributor), T. S. Eliot (Contributor), Ralph Waldo Emerson (Contributor), Edward Fitzgerald (Contributor), Robert Frost (Contributor), Thomas Gray (Contributor), H. D. (Contributor), Thomas Hardy (Contributor), George Herbert (Contributor), Robert Herrick (Contributor), Gerald Manley Hopkins (Contributor), A. E. Housman (Contributor), Julia Ward Howe (Contributor), Robinson Jeffers (Contributor), Lionel Johnson (Contributor), Samuel Johnson (Contributor), Ben Jonson (Contributor), John Keats (Contributor), Walter Savage Landor (Contributor), D. H. Lawrence (Contributor), Edward Lear (Contributor), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Contributor), Richard Lovelace (Contributor), Christopher Marlowe (Contributor), Andrew Marvell (Contributor), Herman Melville (Contributor), George Meredith (Contributor), Edna St. Vincent Millay (Contributor), John Milton (Contributor), Marianne Moore (Contributor), William Morris (Contributor), Thomas Nashe (Contributor), Wilfred Owen (Contributor), Thomas Love Peacock (Contributor), Edgar Allen Poe (Contributor), Alexander Pope (Contributor), Ezra Pound (Contributor), Walter Raleigh (Contributor), John Crowe Ransom (Contributor), Edward Arlington Robinson (Contributor), Isaac Rosenberg (Contributor), Christina Rossetti (Contributor), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Contributor), William Shakespeare (Contributor), Percy Bysshe Shelley (Contributor), James Shirley (Contributor), Philip Sidney (Contributor), Christopher Smart (Contributor), Robert Southwell (Contributor), Edmund Spenser (Contributor), Wallace Stevens (Contributor), Trumbull Stickney (Contributor), John Suckling (Contributor), Algernon Charles Swinburne (Contributor), Alan Tate (Contributor), Alfred Tennyson, Lord (Contributor), Edward Thomas (Contributor), Henry David Thoreau (Contributor), Chidiock Tichborne (Contributor), Thomas Traherne (Contributor), Henry Vaughan (Contributor), Jones Very (Contributor), Edmund Waller (Contributor), John Brooks Wheelwright (Contributor), Walt Whitman (Contributor), William Carlos Williams (Contributor), John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (Contributor), William Wordsworth (Contributor), Thomas Wyatt (Contributor), Elinor Wylie (Contributor), William Butler Yeats (Contributor)

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Showing 3 of 3
The fault of The Best Poems of the English Language is the problem that all anthologies have: the limitations of space and the fact that, while trying to include as wide a variety of poets as possible, one is reduced to reading only a few fragmentary pieces of each one. But, it is fantastic to have such a wide range of splendid, beautiful verse in one volume and serves as a good introduction to a wide range of poets, who's complete works can then be sought out by the reader.

I have to admit to being of two minds about editor Harold Bloom's introductory essay. When he delves into analysis he is insightful and interesting, particularly his observations regarding artists conciously and unconciously building from the work of previous masters. On the other hand, Bloom can really come across as a snob. In his frequent digressions into "bad" poetry - and Edgar Alan Poe is his favourite whipping boy here - he grows tiresome.

Bloom's introductions to various poets are inconsistent in length and usefulness. While some are interesting and informative, others are actually embarrassing. Or perhaps I am not clever enough to grasp the nuances of an introduction to Lewis Carroll that devolves into a defense of pedophilia (oh, those eleven year old enchantresses!) an attack on groups trying to prevent sexual harassment and then culminates with an attack on a totally unrelated author.

In any case the poems themselves are wonderful, and offer a fantastic overview of English and American poetry from Geoffrrey Chaucer to Hart Crane and including John Donne, John Milton, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Walt Whitman, etc. etc. Some are very well known, others are rarely read outside of academia so there are plenty of gems and surprises. And while I was disappointed with Bloom's introduction for him I was thrilled to see Lewis Carroll included in this anthology.

This is a very fine collection of poems, since I do love most of the poets and the pieces featured here, and I am very glad to have a copy of the book in my personal library. ( )
2 vote catfantastic | May 15, 2011 |
No clarifications of difficult words or annotations ( )
1 vote badger-jc | Jul 8, 2008 |
I guess the publisher came up with this book's title: "Poems from England and the United States that I Feel Like Anthologising, with Some Notes on Poets I Hate" would have been more accurate, but isn't as catchy. ( )
3 vote shawjonathan | Jul 18, 2007 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harold Bloomprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, LéonieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aiken, ConradContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arnold, MatthewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beddoes, Thomas LovellContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blake, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bogan, LouiseContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bridges, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brontë, EmilyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Browning, Elizabeth BarrettContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Browning, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bryant, William CullanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burns, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Byron, George Gordon, LordContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campion, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carew, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carroll, LewisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chaucer, GeoffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clare, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cleveland, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coleridge, Samuel TaylorContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collins, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cowper, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crane, HartContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crane, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crashaw, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Darley, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dickinson, EmilyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Donne, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dowson, ErnestContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Drayton, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dryden, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dunbar, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eliot, T. S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Emerson, Ralph WaldoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, EdwardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Frost, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gray, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
H. D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hardy, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Herbert, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Herrick, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hopkins, Gerald ManleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Housman, A. E.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howe, Julia WardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jeffers, RobinsonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, LionelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, SamuelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jonson, BenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keats, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Landor, Walter SavageContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, D. H.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lear, EdwardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Longfellow, Henry WadsworthContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lovelace, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marlowe, ChristopherContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marvell, AndrewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Melville, HermanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Meredith, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Millay, Edna St. VincentContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Milton, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, MarianneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morris, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nashe, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Owen, WilfredContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peacock, Thomas LoveContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Poe, Edgar AllenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pope, AlexanderContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pound, EzraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Raleigh, WalterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ransom, John CroweContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robinson, Edward ArlingtonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rosenberg, IsaacContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rossetti, ChristinaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rossetti, Dante GabrielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shakespeare, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shelley, Percy ByssheContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shirley, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sidney, PhilipContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smart, ChristopherContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Southwell, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Spenser, EdmundContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stevens, WallaceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stickney, TrumbullContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Suckling, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Swinburne, Algernon CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tate, AlanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tennyson, Alfred, LordContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thomas, EdwardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thoreau, Henry DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tichborne, ChidiockContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Traherne, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vaughan, HenryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Very, JonesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Waller, EdmundContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wheelwright, John BrooksContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Whitman, WaltContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, William CarlosContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wilmot, John, Earl of RochesterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wordsworth, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wylie, ElinorContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yeats, William ButlerContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060540419, Hardcover)

The Best Poems of the English Language is the culmination for Harold Bloom of his lifelong love of poetry. It is a comprehensive anthology that offers the reader possession of six centuries of great British and American poetry.

The vast scope of this anthology begins with Chaucer and ends with poets whose births predate 1900. Bloom has culled his selection according to his three absolute criteria: aesthetic splendor, intellectual power, and wisdom.

Featured in this volume is a substantial and significant introductory essay called "The Art of Reading Poetry." This essay presents Bloom's critical reflections on more than a half century devoted to reading, teaching, and writing about the literary achievement he loves best, and conveys his passionate concern for how a poem should be interpreted and appreciated. Throughout this anthology, Bloom includes extensive introductions to each poet and to many of the individual poems. In such commentaries, Bloom guides the reader through what is most relevant for a true understanding of the more than one hundred poets selected.

The Best Poems of the English Language is regarded by Harold Bloom as his most significant meditation upon all those poets in English who have formed his mind. Here in one volume is an abundance that can never be exhausted.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:57 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A collection of key works of English language poetry encompasses works that have been written over the course of six centuries and shares some of the selector's critical reflections from the past half century.

» see all 2 descriptions

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