21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Wild, melancholy, elevating,
This review is from: The Complete Poems (Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
When Charlotte Bronte accidentally discovered Emily's poems in 1845 she recalled that she thought them "condensed and terse, vigorous and genuine. To my ear, they had also a peculiar music - wild, melancholy and elevating." That's still the best criticism of Emily's poetry. There are great rewards here, even though many poems belong to the lost "Gondal" saga and many more are mere fragments. The notes are informative too, but the poems survive without them. I found some of the editorial decisions odd. The poem "Often rebuked" is attributed to Charlotte as no manuscript survives of it and it is written in iambic pentameter and "Emily only wrote six poems in iambic pentameter." Which seems like a daft conclusion - is she only allowed a quota of six poems in iambic pentameter? Yet it is that poem that provides the best statement of Emily's vision: "Often rebuked, yet always back returning/To those first feelings that were born with me.." If the modern world overwhelms you and you want to return to that vision of a "purer" self you think once existed, tune in to Emily's "peculiar music" and see where it takes you.