The Columbia History of British Poetry

By Carl Woodring; James Shapiro | Go to book overview

Brief Biographies of the Poets

Mark, Akenside ( 1721-1770)

Born at Newcastle, the son of a butcher, Akenside studied theology but abandoned it for medicine, practicing as a physician at Northampton and London. He contributed verses to Gentleman's Magazine, and wrote Pleasures of Imagination ( 1744, 1757), Hymn to the Naiads, and An Epistle to Curio.

Matthew Arnold ( 1822-1888)

Arnold was born in Middlesex and educated at Oxford. He served as secretary to Lord Lansdowne ( 1847) and inspector of schools ( 1851-1886). Arnold's first two volumes of poetry, The Strayed Reveller ( 1849) and Empedocles on Etna ( 1852), were followed by two volumes of Poems ( 1853, 1855) and by Merope ( 1858). Appointed Professor of Poetry at Oxford ( 1857-1867), he turned his attention to literary, theological, and educational criticism after 1861.

W. H. Auden ( 1907-1973)

Born in Yorkshire, Wystan Hugh Auden attended Oxford ( 1925-1928), served as schoolmaster in Scotland and England ( 1930-1935), and traveled to Spain to support the loyalists ( 1936). After marrying Erika Mann ( 1935) to provide her with a British passport, he emigrated to the United States ( 1939) and became an American citizen ( 1946). In England again, he was appointed Professor of Poetry at Oxford ( 1956-1961). Auden's lifelong companion was Chester Kallman, with whom he collaborated on opera libretti. Poems ( 1930) and three further volumes established Auden's reputation. He wrote plays with Christopher Isherwood, including The Dog Beneath the Skin ( 1935). Five volumes written in the United States reflect his growing commitment to Anglicanism.

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The Columbia History of British Poetry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Old English Poetry 1
  • Middle English Poetry 23
  • Chaucer 55
  • Poetry in Scots: Barbour to Burns 81
  • From Ballads to Betjeman 110
  • Printing and Distribution of Poetry 132
  • Varieties of Sixteenth-Century Narrative Poetry 156
  • Sixteenth-Century Lyric Poetry 179
  • Spenser, Sidney, Jonson 203
  • Lyric Poetry from Donne to Philips 229
  • Milton 254
  • Dryden and Pope 274
  • Poetry in the Eighteenth Century 301
  • Blake 327
  • Coleridge 341
  • Poetry, 1785-1832 353
  • Byron, Shelley, and Keats 381
  • Wordsworth and Tennyson 405
  • The Victorian Era 425
  • Victorian Religious Poetry 452
  • Pre-Raphaelite Poetry 478
  • The 1890s 505
  • 1898-1945: Hardy to Auden 532
  • Yeats, Lawrence, Eliot 554
  • Poetry in England, 1945-1990 577
  • Problems and Cleavages 605
  • Brief Biographies of the Poets 643
  • Editions 671
  • Notes on Contributors 678
  • Index 683
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