The Two Roads Taken: A Prose Miscellany

Overview

Dannie Abse’s prose anthology draws together essays and autobiographical material spanning a lifetime of writing and practising medicine. We are treated to amusing anecdotes of Abse’s time as a trainee-doctor in wartime Britain, as well as more serious pieces on the Holocaust, Jewishness and the impact literature has had on his medical work. His detailed critical essays on poets ranging from Keats to Plath allow us to engage with his own poetic principles: ‘I believe all poetry should be written out of a personal...

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Overview

Dannie Abse’s prose anthology draws together essays and autobiographical material spanning a lifetime of writing and practising medicine. We are treated to amusing anecdotes of Abse’s time as a trainee-doctor in wartime Britain, as well as more serious pieces on the Holocaust, Jewishness and the impact literature has had on his medical work. His detailed critical essays on poets ranging from Keats to Plath allow us to engage with his own poetic principles: ‘I believe all poetry should be written out of a personal predicament and should be necessary; that there is an unconscious aspect to poetry, that it’s not all on the surface.’ The resounding voice, like that of his poems, is humorous, compassionate and civilised.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781900564687
  • Publisher: Enitharmon Press
  • Publication date: 5/17/2004
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Dannie Abse was born in Cardiff in 1923 and studied medicine in London. His first volume of poetry, After Every Green Thing (Hutchinson, 1948), was published two years before he qualified as a physician. Although principally known as a poet, he has also published novels, plays, essays and an autobiography, Goodbye Twentieth Century (Pimlico, 2001). Dannie Abse has received many literary awards. He is president of the Welsh Academy of Letters. Especially during the last few years Dannie Abse’s poetry and prose has received noteable acknowledgements and a number of prizes including the Wilfred Owen Award. In 2008 his memoir The Presence (Vintage) was voted The Wales Book of the Year and in 2009 his New Selected Poems won the Roland Matthais. In 2010 a companion poetry volume to The Presence, Two for Joy was published and, in the same year, Casy Archard edited Dannie Abse, A Sourcebook (Seren).

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Table of Contents

Introduction 7
Authorship and Medicine 11
A Skull in the Wardrobe 14
Following in the Footsteps of Dr Keats 26
The Charisma of Quacks 46
More than a Green Placebo 54
The Experiment 61
Ninian Park Blues 85
Pegasus and the Rocking Horse 99
I Accuse 114
Playing to the Gallery 121
The Dread of Sylvia Plath 125
Without Self-Importance 142
John Ormond, a Neglected Poet 153
Introduction: D. H. Lawrence 160
Introduction: Ezra Pound 165
Introduction: Thom Gunn 171
Introduction: Fleur Adcock 177
Poetry and Poverty Revisited 183
The Ass and the Green Thing 192
Abse's 1984 203
Replies to an Equiry 221
Interview at Princeton University 229
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