Cover image for Thematic guide to British poetry
Thematic guide to British poetry
Glancy, Ruth F., 1948-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 303 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR502 .G55 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This thematic guide offers interpretations of 415 poems, representing the work of over 110 poets spanning seven centuries of British poetry. Educators teaching thematic units will find relevant essays appropriate for background presentation, discussion ideas, or student assignments. This book is clearly organized for easy access to information, whatever the users' individual purposes.

The main section of the guide contains narrative essays on 29 alphabetically arranged themes that recur throughout the history of British poetry. Explications of individual poems are arranged chronologically to trace the evolution of a particular theme over time. Following each entry, the poems are listed with information about the anthologies where the works can be found. Additional suggested readings make this the perfect resource for research and classroom use, and as an indispensable tool for librarians assisting readers to identify poets, access their works, and better understand the thematic meanings of poetry.

Author Notes

RUTH GLANCY is Associate Professor of English at Concordia University College of Alberta, where she teaches courses in British literature and poetry. She is the author of several books on Dickens including The Student Companion to Charles Dickens (Greenwood, 1999). She has also edited his Christmas writings.

Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Well-organized, easy-to-navigate, authoritative volumes. Each book discusses more than 20 themes including "Life and Death," "Obligations and Choices," "War," "Duty," "Marriage," and "Nature." These topics are explored in detail in lengthy essays with references to specific poems. Historical context and biographical sketches offer insight into the poets' lives as well as the time periods in which they lived. Works included range from the 1700s to the present and, depending on the scope of the book, include authors such as Henry David Thoreau, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allan Poe, William Wordsworth, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Philip Larkin. The selections are discussed in chronological order so that, according to Glancy, "-readers can trace the development and decline of interest in themes over the centuries." Works are referenced at the end of each chapter. Author, title, and subject indexes make access easy. Also included in each volume is a list of anthologies in which the referenced poems can be found. Because of the length of some chapters, the complex discussions of some subjects, and the many literary references, these titles would be most useful to advanced students and their teachers.-Julie Webb, Shelby County High School, Shelbyville, KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Also author of "A Tale of Two Cities": Dickens' Revolutionary Novel (CH, Mar'92), Student Companion to Charles Dickens (1999), and numerous other works, Glancy (Concordia University College) has written what can best be described as a comfortable book. She presents the material under 29 themes--"Death of the Young," "Patriotism," "Music," "Christmas Poems," etc.--in alphabetical order. One finds no surprises here, and not much insightful comment on those poems that are discussed. This book will serve those who need a quick overview of how a theme has been presented in British poetry, but academic libraries will be better served by the Oxford or Norton anthologies. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Public libraries only. J. Wilkinson emeritus, Youngstown State University

Table of Contents

Introductionp. vii
Anthologies of British Poetry and Abbreviations Usedp. xi
Active and Contemplative Livesp. 1
Art, Imagination, and Inspirationp. 15
Beautyp. 31
Carpe Diemp. 43
Christmas Poemsp. 47
Deathp. 53
Death of the Youngp. 65
Dutyp. 77
Fame and Ambitionp. 81
Family Relationsp. 85
Freedom and Captivityp. 89
The Golden Meanp. 93
Immortalityp. 97
Industrialism and the Cityp. 105
Innocence and Experiencep. 111
Lovep. 119
Marriagep. 141
Musicp. 153
Nature and Country Lifep. 159
Old Agep. 187
Patriotismp. 193
Politics and Human Rightsp. 197
Pride and Vanityp. 205
Rebellion and Conformityp. 215
Regret, Consolation, and Melancholyp. 221
Religionp. 229
Sleepp. 243
Time and Changep. 251
Warp. 257
Biographical Sketchesp. 269
Further Readingp. 293
Indexp. 295