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The Art of English Poetry (1708)   By: (fl. 1702-1712)

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The Art of English Poetry, written by Edward Bysshe in 1708, is an insightful and comprehensive guide to the intricacies of English poetry. As a renowned poet and scholar of his time, Bysshe delves deep into the mechanics, techniques, and historical context of English verse.

One of the notable features of this book is its meticulous breakdown of the various poetic forms, including sonnets, odes, elegies, and epigrams. Bysshe carefully dissects each form, offering detailed explanations of their structures, rhyme schemes, and metrical patterns. This provides aspiring poets with invaluable guidance and a solid foundation to experiment and express themselves effectively within these poetic conventions.

Furthermore, the book showcases an extensive selection of exemplary poems from some of the most prominent English poets, such as John Milton, William Shakespeare, and Alexander Pope. Bysshe accompanies these poems with insightful annotations, highlighting their techniques and stylistic choices, thus allowing readers to appreciate the artistry and skill that goes into crafting a powerful piece of poetry.

The Art of English Poetry also delves into the historical and literary context of English verse, providing readers with a broader understanding of how the art form has evolved over centuries. Bysshe delves into the influences of Greek and Latin poetry on English verse, as well as the impact of various poetic movements and trends on the development of the craft. By doing so, he places English poetry within a wider cultural and historical framework, allowing readers to grasp its significance within the broader canon of literature.

While the book is undeniably a valuable resource for aspiring poets, it also caters to a wider audience interested in English literature and its poetic traditions. Bysshe's eloquent prose and engaging style make even the more technical aspects of poetry accessible and enjoyable to read. His passion for the subject matter shines through, inspiring readers to delve deeper into the world of poetry and unlock their own creative potential.

Despite being published over three centuries ago, The Art of English Poetry remains a remarkable and relevant guide for anyone seeking to appreciate, understand, or create English poetry. Bysshe's meticulous analysis, vast knowledge, and love for the craft make this book an enduring classic in the field of literary criticism. It is a must-read for poets, scholars, and enthusiasts looking to explore the richness and beauty of English verse.

First Page:

The Augustan Reprint Society


The Art of English Poetry


With an Introduction by A. Dwight Culler

Publication Number 40

Los Angeles William Andrews Clark Memorial Library University of California 1953


H. Richard Archer, Clark Memorial Library Richard C. Boys, University of Michigan Ralph Cohen, University of California, Los Angeles Vinton A. Dearing, University of California, Los Angeles


W. Earl Britton, University of Michigan


Emmett L. Avery, State College of Washington Benjamin Boyce, Duke University Louis Bredvold, University of Michigan John Butt, King's College, University of Durham James L. Clifford, Columbia University Arthur Friedman, University of Chicago Edward Niles Hooker, University of California, Los Angeles Louis A. Landa, Princeton University Samuel H. Monk, University of Minnesota Earnest Mossner, University of Texas James Sutherland, University College, London H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., University of California, Los Angeles


Edna C. Davis, Clark Memorial Library


The Art of English Poetry (1702) may be roughly described as an English version of the Gradus ad Parnassum ... Continue reading book >>

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