Six Centuries of English Poetry: Tennyson to Chaucer (1892) by James Baldwin is a wonderful collection of poetry by many poets of the past.
This collection includes many poets including William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, Robbie Burns, John Keats, Alexander Pope, John Skelton, William Shakespeare, William Cowper, Percy Shelly, Geoffrey Chaucer and Alfred, Lord Tennyson among others. The book has poems and parts of poems and goes in a backwards order starting at the 19th century. There is notes to explain words and parts accompanying many poems which is very helpful and interesting biographical information about each poet who is included in the book. There is also a section on ballads which was very interesting and entertaining. It is a wonderful overview of many amazing poets, the times they wrote in and their work. The book certainly encouraged me to read more work in the future by a lot of these poets. I loved reading about the biographies and seeing the different perspectives the poets wrote from. That was really interesting.
There is downsides to the book. It isn’t very diverse in the choice of poets and therefore doesn’t show ideas or the times from a lot of different perspectives. There is also a certain amount of classism in this book and is present in Robbie Burns’ biography with some of the language used.
A really great read but definitely has problematic elements.
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