The Poems of William Cowper: Volume III: 1785-1800

The Poems of William Cowper: Volume III: 1785-1800

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This volume completes the Oxford English Texts edition of Cowper's poems. It contains the poetry he wrote in the last fifteen years of his life, after the publication of The Task had established him as the leading poet of his day. While working on a translation of Homer (not a part of this edition), Cowper found time to produce a wealth of shorter poems, ranging in style from the humour of `The Dog and the Water-Lily' and `The Retired Cat', to the
restrained pathos of `On the Receipt of My Mother's Picture out of Norfolk', and `To Mary' (addressed to his companion, Mrs Unwin); and from the reflective tone of `Yardley Oak' to the vulgar energy of the ballads against slavery. His last masterpiece, `The Cast-Away', an expression of the profound misery which had
possessed him for most of his adult life, is followed by a series of brilliant translations such as `The Snail'. This contrast of utter despair with humour and careful workmanship gives poetic form to the endlessly fascinating riddle of Cowper's life and personality.

The texts are based on manuscripts as well as early editions of the poetry, and are supplied with textual annotation and commentary. The translations of Latin and Italian poems of Milton, in which the poet William Hayley made alterations with Cowper's approval, are for the first time printed so that the reader can distinguish Hayley's work from Cowper's, and see Cowper's original wording.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 468 pages
  • 145 x 224 x 34mm | 710g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • some musical settings
  • 0198182961
  • 9780198182962

Review quote

The Oxford English Texts edition of the poems answers a long-felt need. * Times Literary Supplement * These volumes complete the new three-volume Clarendon edition of Cowper's poems, edited by Professor Baird and Dr Ryskamp. They establish what surely will be the standard edition for many years ... the editing is excellent ... The Notes (which occupy one-third of the volume) are very well done. * David Groves, Notes and Queries, Vol. 44, No. 3, September 1997 * Volume III maintains both the high standard of scholarship set by the earlier volumes, and Clarendon's reputation for high-quality editions, with real bottom-of-the-page footnotes: now an almost old-world grace. I came across no errors, and rarely wished for an explanatory note that was not suppled ... If there is even a flicker of interest in Cowper out there, this volume should fan and nourish it. * Richard Bevis, University of British Columbia, ?? journal *
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