Seventeenth-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology
Robert Cummings's important new anthology offers in-depth annotation to a chronologically arranged selection from more than 50 poets writing between 1600 and 1700. The so-called canonical poets are generously represented (all of Milton's Comus, all of Marvell's Upon Appleton House, all of Denham's Coopers Hill) and sometimes with a novel emphasis on what are often taken as unanthologizable (non-lyric) kinds (more of Donne's epistolary and funerary poetry, selections from Drayton's Poly-Olbion, more of Waller).
But the volume is notably catholic, including writers rarely anthologized (Wentworth Dillon) or only recently brought to critical notice (Mary Wroth, Anne Wharton) or discovered (Martha Moulsworth). It runs from anonymous ballads on the one hand to selections on the other out of the great translators (from Chapman and Sylvester to Dryden).
The texts are freshly edited from contemporary sources, with more important variants recorded. The spelling has been modernized. The annotation is much fuller than is customary in anthologies - it makes explicit the literary and other historical contexts of the poems printed in the volume. Bibliographical and other aids make this an invaluable volume for students engaging with the poetry of the period, whether for the first time or at a more advanced level of appreciation and acquaintance.