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Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the Twentieth Century in Poetry Paperback – 3 Feb 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (3 Feb. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014058899X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140588996
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 747,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am a UK-based writer, journalist and editor with a longstanding interest in the relationship between art and science. I've written columns and reviews for many magazines and newspapers, including the Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, Scientific American, New Statesman, Listener, Modern Painters, New Scientist, Vole and World Medicine. Before becoming a freelance writer and editor I was an editorial assistant at the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (1974-9) and a natural history desk editor for Equinox publishers in Oxford (1979-84). From 1986-2002, I was Editor of the UK's foremost poetry magazine, Poetry Review, published by the Poetry Society. I wrote a series of articles on Bio-inspiration for the Guardian (2001-3) and for the last 10 years I have been researching current biological subjects, culminating in the two books: The Gecko's Foot and Dazzled and Deceived.
Dazzled and Deceived is about mimicry in nature, art and warfare. My interest began 25 years ago when I was working as a desk editor of natural history encyclopedias. I was fascinated by butterflies that perfectly mimic leaves, leafy sea dragons indistinguishable from seaweed, harmless milk snakes that copy the red, yellow and black banding of the toxic coral snakes. I say "copy" but they don't quite manage it, as this ditty makes clear:

Red next to yellow
Kill a fellow.
Red next to black,
Venom lack

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John David Charles Hilton on 29 Oct. 2001
Format: Hardcover
The Subtitle of this book "The Penguin Book of the Twentieth Century in Verse" lays out its stall pretty clearly. This is not an overview of Twentieth Century Poetry, but an attempt to sum up that turbulent, troubled and exciting century through the medium of verse. The range of poets featured is very impressive, with just about every important development in the field of European and English poetry well represented within. Nor does it restrict itself to documenting events, there is an emphasis on the personal aspects of living, loving and dying in the last century of the second millennium. The introduction is both informative and interesting and the whole package is presented well. Recommended for anyone with an interest in poetry, and for anyone who wishes to see the events and developments of the twentieth century from a different angle to that presented in the history books. The price is good too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Jun. 1999
Format: Hardcover
When you read this collection of poetry which scans the events and aspects of this century you realise just how much has changed over the last 100 years and also, in many ways, how little we have actually learnt. Many of the poems in this impressive collection are not easy reading - dealing with some of the terrible events which have motivated poets to produce great poetry during times of great stress - the First World War, the Holocaust and Hiroshima are obviously documented in some chilling poetry - but there are lesser known atrocities. I certainly knew nothing of the outrage in the Dominican republic when 20,000 were killed because they were unable to pronounce the letter "r" in the spanish word for parsley until I read Rita Dove's poem. This collection features the highs and lows of the twentieth century and as we approach the millenium, it's worth considering those poems in the collection that best sum up the century for me. The First World War is best represented in Wilfred Owen's magnificent "tell it like it is" "Dolce et Decorum Est". Atrocities of war are also powerfully accounted for in Spanish poet's Ernesto Cardenal's "A Museum in Kampuchea". Despite the prevelance of grim events - there is also a lot of humour in the collection from Brian Jones' wry take on the reluctant do it yourselfer in "Stripping Paint" to some of the excellent contemporary poetry by women - particularly "Poet Of Our Time" by Carol Ann Duffy and "The Lads" by Eleanor Brown. Song lyrics also feature.Read more ›
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Dec. 1999
Format: Hardcover
SCANNING THE CENTURY
The Penguin Book of the Twentieth Century in Poetry
Edited by Peter Forbes
The twentieth century has been one of great turbulence, profound shifts in sensibility and enormous changes in lifestyle. In the words of Primo Levi- a writer, scientist and survivor of Auschwitz - it has been "an epoch rife with problems and perils, but it is not boring". It began with two earth - shattering developments in physics, (Max Planck's formulation of quantum theory and Einstein's special theory of relativity) and soon saw the carnage of the First World War - after which the century has scarcely looked back during it's roller-coaster ride of war and peace, technical progress and social upheaval.
It was strange (a coincidence some might say) that the night I was writing this review there was a film on Channel 4 called The Truce Based on the survival of Primo Levi from Auschwitz and his return home to Italy through the flash-backs of the concentration camp, Russia, Chekoslovakia, Austria and even a stop off in Munich (Germany) where his nightmare began.
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