Purity of Diction in English Verse

Donald Davie


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Carcanet Press Ltd
28 December 2006
ISBN: 9781857548891
384 pages

From the publisher

Donald Davie's first two prose books (1952, 1955), available now in one volume with a new foreword, set the agenda for 'The Movement' and shaped the critical approach of two generations of readers and teachers of poetry. They have also proven of value to poets finding their way. Intended as 'two stages in one investigation', they provide a brilliantly detailed analysis of the workings of English poetry and remain, with books such as I.A. Richards's "Practical Criticism" and William Empson's "Seven Types of Ambiguity", primary critical texts, reviving attention to poetry at a technical level and, in the process, stirring awake for many readers major (and minor) writers of the late eighteenth century who require special qualities of attention. Davie remains a particularist, proving in insight after insight the deep rewards of close attention. For him poetry is a responsible art; it is not an end in itself but must always 'reek of the human'.