A Critical Study of William Drummond of Hawthornden

A Critical Study of William Drummond of Hawthornden

A Critical Study of William Drummond of Hawthornden

A Critical Study of William Drummond of Hawthornden

Excerpt

Some years ago, in his lectures on seventeenth century poetry, the late Professor Frank Allen Patterson, of Columbia University, first aroused my curiosity about William Drummond of Hawthornden. From the anthologies and early editions of his work I went to the excellent edition of L. E. Kastner, which contains the full text of Drummond's poetry, a thorough study of sources and parallels, and some arresting comments on Drummond's stature as a poet. Kastner's work, however, is primarily concerned with text and sources

In general, the critical work dealing with Drummond's poetry was disappointing. Much of it was stereotyped, re petitive, and so casual as to contribute little to an understanding and appreciation of Drummond. Even Masson's biography, valuable as it is in supplying the political, religious, and literary background of the time, considers only a limited amount of Drummond's work. W. C. Ward has written probably the best critical essay to date in the introduction to his edition of Drummond's poetry, but he, too, subordinates analysis of the poetry to the biographical and historical information presented. Most critics, I found, had written either technical considerations of the poetry, with almost no feeling for the man behind the work, or essays in "appreciation"of the beauties of the verse and of the spirit behind it. What was needed, it seemed to me, was some sort of critical study that would examine the poetry for its own intrinsic merit without forgetting that it was also the expression of an age and the voice of a human soul.

My enthusiasm for Drummond was considerably heightened by a visit to Edinburgh, where I had the privilege of . . .

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