Customer Review

113 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but not if it's completely useless., 13 April 2011
This review is from: Selected Poems of Carol Ann Duffy: York Notes Advanced (Paperback)
Okay, apologies in advance, but this WILL be a bit of an essay.

I didn't really know what to make of the star ratings. I mean, the book arrived within 3 days of my order, which was fab and it was in mint condition, so in terms of delivery and the state of the book, I have no complaints, hence the 5 stars, although I do wish that books like these would specify which "Selected poems" where in the book in the first place!

I imagine it's a good book if the poems in it are relevant to what you're studying, but if like me, you are an A-level student studying Rapture by Duffy (Edexcel English Literature), be warned thst this book is pretty much useless. There's alot that doesn't apply to me, so cheap as the book may have been, it wasn't worth the money.

Seeing as no-one has indicated what's actually inside the thing, I'll take the liberty to let you all know so that no-one else has to waste their money on something that won't help them get a decent grade.

Part 1 is a 2 page intro to studying a poem and reading Carol Ann Duffy's poetry. This is a good section, relevant to anyone really but obviously not worth buying the book for if these are two of the only pages you can use. I will, however, make the most of it before I send the book back!

Part 2 deals with "The Text" which more or less is a brief half page intro to Duffy as a poet, her works and some features of her poetry. This is then followed by detailed summaries of "Standing Female Nude", "Selling Manhattan", "The Other Country", "Mean Time", Other poems, "The World's Wife" and "Feminine Gospels". This all takes us from pages 8 to 88. Then there are 3 extended commentaries from pages 101-109: Text 1- 'The Grammar of Light (Mean Time)', Text 2- 'Pluto (Mean Time)' and Text 3- 'Anne Hathaway (The World's Wife)'.

Part 3 focuses on critical approaches from pages 114-127, starting with the themes of her poems (Childhood, Memory, Love, Relationships and Sexuality, Language, Politics and Time. For Poetic form, the book looks at dramatic monologues and the sonnet. Then there's Imagery.

Part 4 looks at Duffy's critical history. 'A poet for our time- a critical reception of Carol Ann Duffy's work' and 'The Literature act- ways of reading' from pages 128-129.

Part 5 (pages 133-144) gives us an insight to Duffy's background. This includes 'Carol Ann Duffy's life and work', 'Historical and political background', 'Modernism','Feminism' and 'Chronology'.

As is common with other books, there is a section suggesting further reading, literary terms and 'Author of these notes', pages 147-154.

...and that's the book in a nutshell! I hope all found this review useful- I only wish someone would have been so kind as to do so before I bought the book myself, but at least some good has come out of this!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Apr 2011 19:00:48 BDT
Thank you for the review, I'm also studying Rapture for English Lit A2 this year.
However, I just wanted to let you know that what you described actually sounds pretty useful to our exam. I will tell you why:

- A2 examiners are looking for students that can back their points up with -critics-. It is no longer as GCSE was where I could call Lennie a mug and back myself with a quote from him strangling a puppy. We need critics, and I think that this book will really aid you if you learn about what the critics have said, and also, how different societies will react to Duffy's poems. The poems are very intense and explicit, whereas for example in Tess of the D'urbervilles, love and sex were never associated. In fact, sex was portrayed as terrible - hence Alec raping her. You should look at how the poems would have been received in other periods and that's why I believe this book is helpful to you!

- Secondly, you mentioned something about Duffy's history. Well in A2 it is VERY important to get inside the head of the poet/author/playwright to understand what it was that provoked them to charactertise the way that they did, or even come up with what they did. WHY did the writer write? Why did he not become a shoemaker? What events in his life sparked him off to succeed as a writer? Her history will give you a direct insight into what it was that provoked her to write those poems in Rapture, which may I add are HIGHLY representative of the themes of 'obsession' and 'loss'.

So although the book doesn't analyse each and every poem within Rapture, it offers you something better. An understanding of the poet herself, and therefore an understanding of what these poems may mean. The analysis is down to you yourself - that's why you chose to do English Literature as an A level.

If you need any help with the poems, I have loads of essay on them and I would be more than glad to share (IF you are interested!)

Good luck!

Posted on 8 Jun 2011 14:23:41 BDT
Zahra Rashid says:
Thanks so much for the info, as I'm also studying "Rapture"!

Good luck with the exam, hope it goes well! :) x
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