• Free Shipping on all orders in Australia
  • Over 7 million books in stock
  • Proud to be B-Corp
  • We aim to be carbon neutral by 2022
  • Over 120,000 Trustpilot reviews
Item 1 of 0
Against Oblivion By Ian Hamilton

Against Oblivion by Ian Hamilton

Condition - Very Good
Only 2 left


Using the model of Samuel Johnson's "Lives of the Poets", this series of biographical essays looks at 45 20th-century poets from Hardy to Larkin, taking in Eliot, Pound, Yeats, Lowell, Auden, and Plath along the way. Respresentative poems from each poet are included.

Against Oblivion Summary

Against Oblivion: Some Lives of the Twentieth Century Poets by Ian Hamilton

The idea for Ian Hamilton's unorthodox new book was sparked by a rereading of Samuel Johnson's classic "Lives of the English Poets". Johnson included appraisals of 52 poets, but of these only a tiny handful - four or five, perhaps - are still remembered. What, then, of the 20th century? How many English-language poets of that epoch will we be admiring 200 years from now? How many will resist oblivion? Hamilton takes 45 dead 20th-century poets and offers a personal - and sometimes highly critical - response to each of them. And in the process he constructs a portrayal of what the living of a 20th-century "poetic life" has actually involved. Underpinning Hamilton's narrative are two main propositions. Firstly, that the 20th century was almost from the beginning dominated by four key figures - Yeats, Eliot, Auden and Hardy -and that subsequent poets have, in one way or another, had to "take on" these overshadowing exemplars. For these four, Hamilton insists, oblivion presents no threat. Secondly, that, faced with a secular, mass-educated and largely philistine "audience", the poet's appetite for durability, for lastingness, has been intensified - in some cases, constructively; in others, with disastrous results. Larkin, Lowell, Berryman, MacNiece: will we continue to remember them? Ginsberg, Spender, Tate: real talents, or mere poetry-world careerists? And, in the end, how many do we need? Examples of each candidate's verse accompany Hamilton's prose text, so that "Against Oblivion" can be taken as an informal introduction to 20th-century poetry, or as a basis for critical dispute, or as a useful and provocative anthology: three books in one.

About Ian Hamilton

Ian Hamilton has written biographies of the poets Robert Lowell and Matthew Arnold and the novelist J.D. Salinger. He has also published poems and two books of essays, and is the editor of the Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century Essays. From 1974 to 1979 he edited the New Review.

Table of Contents

Rudyard Kipling; Charlotte Mew; Robert Frost; Edward Thomas; Wallace Stevens; William Carlos Williams; D.H. Lawrence; Ezra Pound; Hilda Doolittle (HD); Marianne Moore; Robinson Jeffers; Rupert Brooke; Conrad Aiken; Edna St. Vincent Millay; Hugh MacDiarmid; Wilfred Owen; E.E. Cummings; Robert Graves; Hart Crane; Allen Tate; Stevie Smith; Norman Cameron; William Empson; John Betjeman; Louis MacNiece; Theodore Roethke; Stephen Spender; Elizabeth Bishop; Roy Fuller; R.S. Thomas; Randall Jarrell; Weldon Kees; Henry Reed; John Berryman; Dylan Thomas; Alun Lewis; Robert Lowell; Keith Douglas; Philip Larkin; Allen Ginsburg; James Merrill; James Wright; Gregory Corso; Ted Hughes; Sylvia Plath.

Additional information

Against Oblivion: Some Lives of the Twentieth Century Poets by Ian Hamilton
Used - Very Good
Penguin Books Ltd
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - Against Oblivion