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The Hundred Best English Poems   By:

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The Hundred Best English Poems is a comprehensive anthology edited by Adam L. Gowans, presenting a remarkable collection of some of the finest English poems ever written. This book is a literary treasure trove, providing readers with a journey through centuries of poetic excellence.

Spanning from iconic works penned by the renowned William Shakespeare and John Donne, to the heartfelt verses of Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, this anthology covers a diverse range of poets and their masterpieces. Gowans' careful selection allows readers to explore various themes, styles, and periods of English poetry.

One of the key strengths of this anthology lies in its organization. The poems are grouped thematically, enabling readers to delve into specific themes such as love, nature, or spirituality. This arrangement not only aids in understanding the context of each poem but also allows for a deeper appreciation of their timeless beauty.

Gowans' editorship truly shines through in the insightful introductions accompanying each poem. These introductions provide historical, social, and literary context, shedding light on the significance and impact of the featured works. This additional information adds depth and enhances the reader's understanding of each piece.

Moreover, the meticulous attention to detail and accuracy in the presentation of the poems is commendable. The layout and formatting are reader-friendly, and the inclusion of footnotes further clarifies obscure references or archaic language that may be encountered.

In addition to including widely celebrated poems, Gowans also manages to introduce readers to lesser-known yet equally deserving works. This adds an element of surprise and discovery to the reading experience, making it truly enriching for both seasoned poetry enthusiasts and those new to the genre.

However, while The Hundred Best English Poems is an exceptional anthology, it falls short in a few aspects. The absence of illustrations or visual representations to accompany the poems could have added another dimension to the readers' immersion. This is a minor critique, considering the anthology effectively emphasizes the power of language through the written word alone.

Overall, Adam L. Gowans' The Hundred Best English Poems is a compelling testament to the enduring beauty and impact of English poetry. It invites readers on a captivating journey through centuries of poetic brilliance, offering a well-rounded selection and insightful introductions. This anthology is a must-read for poetry enthusiasts, literature students, and anyone seeking to explore the depths of the English poetic tradition.

First Page:


Selected by


[Illustration: Alfred, Lord Tennyson.]


New York Thomas Y. Crowell & Company Publishers Copyright, 1904, By Thomas Y. Crowell & Co.



Let me frankly admit, to begin with, that the attractiveness and probable selling qualities of the title of this little book, "The Hundred Best English Poems," proved, when it had been once thought of, too powerful arguments for it to be abandoned. I am fully conscious of the presumption such a title implies in an unknown selector, but at the same time I submit that only a plebiscite of duly qualified lovers of poetry could make a selection that could claim to deserve this title beyond all question, and such a plebiscite is of course impossible. I can claim no more than that my attempt to realize this title is an honest one, and I can assert, without fear of contradiction, that every one of the poems I have included is a "gem of purest ray serene"; that none can be too often read or too often repeated to one's self; that every one of them should be known by heart by every lover of good literature, so that each may become, as it were, a part of his inner being... Continue reading book >>

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