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Walter Savage Landor (1775–1864)

Author of Imaginary Conversations

76+ Works 300 Members 3 Reviews 2 Favorited

About the Author

Landor's long life was filled with endless quarrels, lawsuits, and controversy. His temper was violent; his convictions, absolute. But his poetic writings are astonishingly serene, disciplined, and elevated. His youthful Gebir (1798) is the best of his long narrative poems, but it is with the short show more lyric that he is an enduring master. His prose Imaginary Conversations (1824--53) remains widely read. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Works by Walter Savage Landor

Imaginary Conversations (1837) 56 copies
Pericles and Aspasia (1880) 20 copies
Gebir (1798) 6 copies, 1 review
Landor: One Hundred Poems (1999) 5 copies
Selected Poetry and Prose (1981) 4 copies
Count Julian (1812) 4 copies
The Hellenics & Gebir (1928) 1 copy
The sculptured garland (1948) 1 copy
Aphorisms 1 copy

Associated Works

Paradise Lost [Norton Critical Edition] (1667) — Contributor, some editions — 2,229 copies, 13 reviews
The Best Poems of the English Language: From Chaucer Through Robert Frost (2004) — Contributor — 1,067 copies, 3 reviews
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 936 copies, 7 reviews
English Poetry, Volume II: From Collins to Fitzgerald (1910) — Contributor — 515 copies, 1 review
World Poetry: An Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to Our Time (1998) — Contributor — 452 copies, 1 review
The Faber Book of Beasts (1997) — Contributor — 142 copies, 1 review
The Standard Book of British and American Verse (1932) — Contributor — 115 copies, 1 review
The Everyman Anthology of Poetry for Children (1994) — Contributor — 73 copies
Classic Essays in English (1961) — Contributor — 22 copies
Englische Essays aus drei Jahrhunderten (1980) — Contributor — 10 copies
Men and Women: The Poetry of Love (1970) — Contributor — 8 copies
La poesía inglesa románticos y victorianos — Contributor — 4 copies, 1 review
English Romantic Poetry (1996) — Contributor — 2 copies

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Reviews

I read the first third of the book and then simply tired of it. Until then, it had its rewarding moments, despite the author’s antiquated prose---presumably designed to be old-fashioned even when Landor wrote, given that he is recording conversations between individuals from the past.
It was often clear that the sympathies of the author lay with one dialogue partner, usually the one who champions tolerance, free thought, and other liberal ideals that I share, but that doesn’t always make for interesting reading.
One notable expression of these values is the closing line of the conversation between John of Gaunt and Joanna of Kent: “when I hear the God of mercy invoked to massacres, and thanked for furthering what He reprobates and condemns---I look back in vain on any barbarous people for worse barbarism.”
Not only Joanna of Kent but many other women, for instance, Anne Boleyn in conversation with Henry VIII, are sympathetically-drawn.
Sometimes the least promising dialogues, such as that between Lord Brooke (Fulke Greville) and Sir Philip Sydney, turned up some of the best lines, as when Sydney observes “goodness does not more certainly make men happy than happiness makes them good.” I also enjoyed the way that Diogenes punctures Plato’s arguments for the immortal soul.
After a while, however, such insightful aphorisms didn’t offer enough reward to outweigh the tedium of the style or the lack of dramatic tension in the conversations.
… (more)
 
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HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
An epic poem composed by Landor when young under the influence of Milton and the French Revolution. The hero Gebir (supposedly the namesake of Gibraltar) invades Egypt but falls in love with an Egyptian princess. HIs brother Tamar settles more quietly for a sea-nymph. I learned of this poem from Abercrombie's The Epic. Abercrombie thought Landor tried almost too hard for classical concision --in some cases writing first in Latin, then in English. (He later published the poem with a Latin translation.)… (more)
 
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antiquary | Jun 4, 2014 |
"And may I dine, at journey's end, with Landor and John Donne" (Yeats)
 
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Jennifertapir | May 17, 2009 |

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Works
76
Also by
16
Members
300
Popularity
#78,268
Rating
4.2
Reviews
3
ISBNs
60
Languages
2
Favorited
2

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