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Poetry: A Very Short Introduction

Bernard O'Donoghue

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Oxford University Press
01 October 2019
Literary studies: general; Literary studies: poetry & poets
Poetry, arguably, has a greater range of conceptual meaning than perhaps any other term in English. At the most basic level everyone can recognise it--it is a kind of literature that uses special linguistic devices of organization and expression for aesthetic effect. However, far grander claims have been made for poetry than this--such as Shelley's that the poets 'are the unacknowledged legislators of the world', and that poetry is 'a higher truth'. In this Very Short Introduction, Bernard O'Donoghue provides a fascinating look at the many different forms of writing which have been called 'poetry'--from the Greeks to the present day. As well as questioning what poetry is, he asks what poetry is for, and considers contemporary debates on its value. Is there a universality to poetry? And does it have a duty of public utility and responsibility? ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
By:   Bernard O'Donoghue
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 174mm,  Width: 111mm,  Spine: 10mm
Weight:   132g
ISBN:   9780199229116
ISBN 10:   0199229112
Series:   Very Short Introductions
Pages:   160
Publication Date:   01 October 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Introduction 1: Truths universally acknowledged 2: Poetry's areas of authority and aptitude 3: The language of poetry and its particular devices 4: The kinds of poetry and their contexts 5: Poets and readers Conclusion Further Reading Index

Bernard O'Donoghue is an Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College, where he taught Medieval English and Modern Irish Poetry. Also a poet and a literary critic, his poetry collection Gunpowder (Chatto & Windus, 1995) was awarded the 1995 Whitbread Poetry Award. He has authored and edited several titles, including The Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney (CUP, 2008) and Reading Chaucer's Poems: A Guided Selection (Faber, 2015). In 2006, his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was published by Penguin.

Reviews for Poetry: A Very Short Introduction

A bold encounter with the questions that make his subject so compelling. * Professor Stephen Regan, Durham University * Everyone near the beginning of their life in poetry will want to have this book, and everyone further down the track will value it as a stimulation. * Andrew Motion * ...achieves an air of indispensability, as both a guidebook for the enquiring beginner, and as a handbook of poetic values for the determined practitioner. * Simon Armitage *


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