Olive, Cypress and Palm an Anthology of Love and Death

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Mina Curtiss
Kessinger Publishing, Apr 1, 2004 - Poetry - 312 pages
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1930. Curtiss writes: An anthology should be its own justification-a garland of flowers; of olive, cypress and palm. This anthology excludes poems of any writer born after 1850. A date is, of course, merely a symbol, and I might more accurately have chosen 1869. Be that as it may, a definite change in attitude towards death, and consequently in elegiac poetry, took place after the publication of The Origin of Species. An analysis of this statement is not here relevant. One can only say, judging entirely from the poetry of the last sixty or seventy years, that death has ceased to be felt and thought of as concomitant with life, as a part of the continuous pattern of human experience, as a culmination. Instead it has become a biological phenomenon, as long as possible postponed, and frequently ignored or feared. Selections include the verse of Donne, Dickinson, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Shelley, Dryden, Jonson, Dickinson, Milton, Tennyson, Byron, Hardy, Rossetti, and Arnold.

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