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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
6
4.2 out of 5 stars


on 11 September 2010
These discs cover a great deal of ground, introducing lesser known as well as famous poets. The information about the poets and the manner and object of the transmission of their works is also excellent.

I have two reservations about the set.
(a) I admire Sir D Jacobi, but was he really a good choice for this exercise? He is too much of an actOR [sic] for my taste: he declaims as if at a public gathering whereas one wants a more conversational tone. He reads little of the poetry himself...where he would have shone!
(b) Some of Whitfield's judgments strike me as naïf: for example, he claims that Shakespeare's works reveal his own clear moral or at least normative views. But surely Shakespeare was far too intelligent to tilt his plays in one direction or another: at the very least, Whitfield might have observed that tragedy is in many ways an account of how our attempts to lead a moral and fulfilled life come a cropper. As for the other plays, consider how many of the often conventional justice-is-done endings seem perfunctory and unconvincing. As for Shakespeare's poetic output, I'd believe that scarcely any moral commitment emerges unambiguously from them.
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on 5 April 2016
Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh with this review.

Perhaps, having heard the excellent "History of English Literature" (same reader, different author), I was expecting more historical context, and more extracts / readings.

Perhaps, having heard 'Words that Burn' and 'Catching Life By the Throat' (with intros read by the late, great Josephine Hart), I was expecting more biographical stuff about the authors.

But somehow, the angle and the balance of content in this book just leaves me a bit, well... cold.

But having said that, the utterly wonderful Sir Derek Jacobi never did a bad reading, bless his dulcet tones. So it wasn't a complete waste of my time, far from it.

Bottom line: if you like your books a bit drier and more academic - then fill your boots, people. But stylistically, it just wasn't really for me.
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on 24 July 2010
There truly isn't much more I can add to the above title, except that this Box Set is an absolute pleasure from start to finish! It is thoroughly enhanced, as one would expect, by the wonderfully silky voice of Derek Jacobi. He conveys himself with great vim, vigour and verve, and if you have a passion for poetry, then this is so totally for you. I have found myself purchasing more and more poetry books simply because of the feelings that this has stirred-up in me. It makes me so hungry to learn more about such an interesting and rewarding topic. Go on, lose yourselves in an idyllic Arcadia by purchasing this wonderful collection. You won't be disappointed! Trust me.
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on 27 March 2014
I thought this a good starting point for studying English poetry, gives good overview and nicely read. Inevitably with so much ground being covered you only get a few lines for each poet which is a bit limited but still, does the job well.
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on 1 October 2014
Bought for someone in a nursing home who said it was excellent.
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on 16 November 2014
Very well received as Chistmas present.
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