Scanning the Century

Overview

The 20th century has been one of great turbulence, profound shifts in sensibility, and enormous changes in lifestyle. As this anthology brilliantly demonstrates, the poetry of the last hundred years has been both a mirror and a gloss to the age. Drawing on poetry written in English and in translation, Peter Forbes' aim has been to capture this century's flavor "with something like the tang of newsreel and the zest of popular song." There are 39 sections, which run the gamut of moods: from Omens (Brodsky, Hardy, ...
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Overview

The 20th century has been one of great turbulence, profound shifts in sensibility, and enormous changes in lifestyle. As this anthology brilliantly demonstrates, the poetry of the last hundred years has been both a mirror and a gloss to the age. Drawing on poetry written in English and in translation, Peter Forbes' aim has been to capture this century's flavor "with something like the tang of newsreel and the zest of popular song." There are 39 sections, which run the gamut of moods: from Omens (Brodsky, Hardy, Kipling) to The Jazz Age (Mayakovsky, Eliot, Hughes), from The Holocaust (Auden, Rumens, Levi) to The Sixties (Dylan, Lennon, McCartney), from The Arts (Stevens, Prévert, Yevtushenko) to Love and Sex (Larkin, Adcock, Gunn). As ambitious, various, and energetic as its subject, Scanning the Century offers both history and poetry in one artful and illuminating volume. Peter Forbes is the editor of Poetry Review.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Editor Forbes divides his anthology into 39 sections, arranged both chronologically and by subject, with such headings as "Omens: 1900-1914," "Strange Fruit: Civil Rights 1930s-1968," and "Workout in Reality Gym: The Eighties & Nineties." In his introduction, Forbes notes that he does not (and could not) include writers from all parts of the globe-instead he focuses upon events that have been global in consequence (such as the world wars, advances in science and technology, and decolonization) and arranges his selections in connection to them. A timeline of events and their corresponding poems is included as an appendix. While over 100 translations appear, the majority of poets represented herein hail from Britain and the US. Forbes nonetheless has done an admirable job of being "inclusive" without pandering to the masses, and we are offered a generous sampling of contemporary British poets with whom most American readers are not likely to be familiar. While better-known poets such as W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice have the most entries (eight apiece), most others are allotted only one work (or excerpt), making it difficult to get a sense of the poets' work beyond what is given. Still, this is not meant to be an anthology of poets, but of poems, some of which have been included because they are topical, not because they are aesthetically important-but inferior poems are the exception here, not the rule.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140588996
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/1/2000
  • Pages: 640
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.80 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2001

    EXCELLENT!

    This is a stunning collection with an imaginative arrangement, somewhat chronological, somewhat thematic. Not your run-of-the-mill anthology poems either. I love this book!

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