Allusion to the words and phrases of ancestral voices is one of the hiding-places of poetry's power. Poets appreciate the great debts that they owe to previous poets, and are often duly and newly grateful. Allusion to the Poets consists of twelve essays - four published here for the first time - on allusion and its relations, in particular on the use that poets in English have made of the very words of poets in English. The first half of the book, on 'The Poet as Heir', consists of six chapters devoted to individual poets, Augustan, Romantic, and Victorian: Dryden and Pope, Burns, Wordsworth, Byron, Keats, and Tennyson. Allusion is always a form of inheritance, not to be hoarded or squandered. The critical and creative question is its imaginative co-operation with other kinds of legacy - with whatever for a particular poet or for a particular time is judged to be an unignorable inheritance: of a throne, perhaps, or of land; of intermixed languages; of the human senses; of money; of literature itself; or of our planet, long-lived but not eternal.
The second half of the book is six essays on allusion's affiliations: to plagiarism (allusion being plagiarism's responsible opposite); to metaphor (allusion being a form that metaphor may take); to loneliness in poetry (allusion constituting company); to allusion within poetry to prose (on A E. Housman); to translation as exercising allusion (on David Ferry); and to the clash between one poet's practice and his critical principles (on Yvor Winters).
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(214mm x 136mm x 15mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Author Biography - Christopher Ricks
Professor Christopher Ricks is Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University and co-director of the Editorial Institute. He has taught at Boston University since 1986; he was formerly King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge. He is the general editor of two series, Penguin English Poets and Poets in Translation, and the co-editor of Essays in Criticism. In 2002 he delivered the Panizzi Lectures in Bibliography at the British Library.