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The Penguin Book of Elegy

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'A tremendous sentimental education of a book ... a literary adventure ... chosen with a scholarly discernment mixed with a wild-card flair ... fascinating and unignorable'

Kate Kellaway, Observer (Poetry Book of the Month)

Elegy is among the world's oldest forms of literature. Born in Ancient Greece, practised by the Romans, revitalized by the poets of the Renaissance and continuing down to the present day, it speaks eloquently and affectingly of the experience of loss and the yearning for consolation. It gives shape and meaning to memories too painful to contemplate, and answers our desire to fix in words what would otherwise slip our grasp.

In The Penguin Book of Elegy, Andrew Motion and Stephen Regan trace the history of this tradition, from its Classical roots in the work of Theocritus, Virgil and Ovid down to modern compositions exploring personal tragedy and collective grief by such celebrated voices of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as Dylan Thomas, Elizabeth Bishop, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Denise Riley. The only comprehensive anthology of its kind in the English language, The Penguin Book of Elegy is a profound and moving compendium of the fundamentally human urges to remember and honour the dead, and to give comfort to those who survive them.

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