Helpful votes received on reviews: 67% (24 of 36)


Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,547,238 - Total Helpful Votes: 24 of 36
Lolita (Penguin Classics) by Craig Raine
Lolita (Penguin Classics) by Craig Raine
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Lolita is a book of obsession; both Humbert's and Nabokov's. While Humbert's obsession with Lolita revolves around the physical and vital, Nabokov's insidious delight is crafting words and transmitting meaning through word play, and his words betray a duplicity. They tell both the story of Humbert and Lolita, and the story of Nabokov's desire to manipulate language beautifully. His use of names to indicate character is inspired, throwing Dickens into the shade, Miss Lesley and Miss Fabian being the obvious examples.
Do not read Nabokov for a moral tale, Nabokov is pagan in his worship of the aesthetic, and does not allow anything to escape his relentless pilgrimage for beauty. Lolita… Read more
Selected Poems of Lord Byron (Wordsworth Poetry Li&hellip by Lord Byron
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Byron the Hero, 31 Aug 2005
Byron is, by definition, a puzzle of a poet. He adores baiting and testing the reader with his piquant mixture of gossip, gravitas and grace. The poet is capable of ascending into 'high' poetry, and amusing himself with the crudest of jibes at the expense of his esteemed Romantic peers. 'Don Juan' is the perfect example of this tendency in the poetry, and Byron's melancholic reputation is revealed to be a part of this theatrical poet's act. His technical mastery is difficult to better, and his sense of play allows him to subvert the epic in an almost revolutionary style, provoking even modern critics into a frenzy of disagreement as to his true achievement. Joyce and Dostoevsky are his true… Read more
Robert Lowell: Poems Selected by Michael Hofmann (&hellip by Robert Lowell
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Lowell is a poetic chameleon, and the shifting tides of his poetry can make his work seem so varied that another poet could have penned each work. Belonging to Berryman's school of the feigned 'confessional', Lowell teases and torments the reader with sharply honed syntax and verse like a well wrought urn. This particular bite sized package does Lowell no favours as the disjointed nature of his talent, and his paradigm shifts are magnified. Inexplicably, Hofmann creates a near homage to Lowell's later work, neglecting almost entirely his earlier critically respected work, and thus creates a skewed impression of this sly genius. However, Lowell's technical mastery, humour and melancholy… Read more