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The Best of John Betjeman (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

John Betjeman , John Guest
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Sep 2000 Penguin Modern Classics
In addition to the best of Sir John's poetry, this acclaimed selection includes prose that reveals him as architectural critic, social historian conservationist, short story writer, railway enthusiast, country lover, humorist, eccentric and christian.


Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (9 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141184329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141184326
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.9 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,635,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

His humour is remarkably versatile, for it can be used to serve both his deepest love and his most remorseless hatred (Observer)

His poems spring from what he really feels about real life, and as a result he brings back to poetry a sense of dramatic urgency it had all but lost (Philip Larkin)

Betjeman is perhaps as completely original a writer as has ever existed (Times Literary Supplement)

'This "best of", which shows just why Betjeman came to be regarded with more affection than any other poet of the 20th century, lives up to the claim with a selection of his greatest poetry and prose' (Western Daily Press)

'Who could ever tire of the amusing and poignant pictures he painted in verses...' (Oxford Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A delightful anthology of Betjeman's greatest poetry and prose --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd take this to my desert island! 6 Jun 2004
Format:Paperback
I love this book - it captures all aspects of Betjeman's writing and is accessible for those of us who aren't otherwise great readers of poetry.If you're abroad , this could make you homesick! It is rather nostalgic and to me conjures up all that is best about England .The prose is as interesting as the poetry and in bite-sized chunks so it's perfect for reading on a journey too. Definately worth buying!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great overview of a great writer 27 Nov 2009
By Ian Shine VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Like most people I am most familiar with Betjeman's poetry, most notably Slough.
The tone of that poem - humorous; sardonic - is the main tone throughout the rest of his poetry, but they only make up half of this book.
The second half is full of Betjeman's prose, a section of which is made up of his pieces about Britain's churches (a passion of his, and his architectural knowledge is clearly beyond that of the amateur), the script for his commentary on a TV piece called Metroland (about the commuter belt outside London), and various other pieces.
One note-worthy piece for me was a letter found by his publisher written half in French, half in English, that seems somehow to capture the very essence of Betjeman's fun-loving nature and irrepressible desire to play with words.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry is an art! 7 July 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful book, he writes about the good things to keep and appreciate in this changing world. Poetry is not only one of the most difficult types of creative writing but is also the best to read when well written.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars cosy 24 July 2008
Format:Paperback
I was back in my early teens and wrapped in cosy nostalgia. Thats how I felt when reading this.You can read this in easy stages or just pick up when you feel 'the need'. I would have liked more poems but a balanced book I'm sure for the real afficionados.
A gem.
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