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Edward Dowden: A Critical Edition of the Complete Poetry, edited by Wayne K. Chapman

April 15, 2010

dowdenThis volume reintroduces Edward Dowden, a significant poet of the nineteenth century, to a modern audience which has forgotten, probably, that this distinguished Irish authority on Shakespeare, Goethe and Shelley thought of himself as a poet first. Our perception of Dowden today is that he was a better critic than he was a poet; and in the main, this judgment may be sound, but it goes untested due to the scarcity of his poetic works. Without the commitment he made to his academic post at Trinity College, Dublin, he might have become another Meredith. His poetry was prominently featured in Alfred Miles’s series The Poets and the Poetry of the Nineteenth Century (Routledge, c. 1891–1906)—an influential tome which conferred canonical stature to a broader field of poets than we tend to observe from our distant perspective.

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