Classics

Tony Frazer (ed.) : Poets of Devon & Cornwall – from Barclay to Coleridge

Shearsman Classics No. 1. [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]
Published 2007, 8.5x5.5ins, 148pp, £9.95 / $18. ISBN 9781905700509

Alexander Barclay, George Peele, John Ford, Humfrey Gifford, Richard Carew, Anne Dowriche, Sir Walter Ralegh, Sir Arthur Gorges, Joseph Hall, Robert Herrick, Sidney Godolphin, William Strode, William Browne, Thomas Spratt, Mary, Lady Chudleigh, Thomas D'Urfey, John Gay, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

All of these are poets born in the two westernmost counties of England, or — like Hall and Herrick — poets who were active there. In time we stretch from the very beginning of the 16th century until the early 19th century. We begin with Barclay, a priest working in Ottery St. Mary, and we close with Coleridge, the son of a priest in Ottery St. Mary, his birthplace.

Picture of book cover Tony Frazer (ed.) : Poets of Devon & Cornwall – from Barclay to Coleridge
Buy this poetry book button
 
Robert Herrick: Selected Poems

Shearsman Classics No. 2. Edited by Tony Frazer.  
[Download a sample PDF from this book here.]
Published 2007. 8.5x5.5ins, 120pp, £9.95 / $18. ISBN 9781905700493

Robert Herrick (1591–1674) was perhaps the greatest poet to have worked in Devon. Born in London, the son of a goldsmith, he studied at Cambridge and later fell in with the London poets who had gathered around the magnetic figure of Ben Jonson. In order to make a living — since he had not pursued the family trade — he entered the Church and in 1627 was appointed chaplain to the Duke of Buckingham, whom he accompanied on an unsuccessful military expedition in 1627. In 1629 he was appointed to the living of Dean Prior, a village on the edge of Dartmoor, about half way between Exeter and Plymouth. He was to remain there for the rest of his life, with the exception of the Cromwellian period from 1647–1660, during which he was expelled for his royalist sympathies and, no doubt, also doctrinal disagreements.

Picture of book cover Robert Herrick: Selected Poems
Buy this poetry book button
 
Tony Frazer (ed): Spanish Poetry of the Golden Age, in contemporary English translations

Shearsman Classics No. 3. [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]
Published 2008. Paperback, 139pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $18. ISBN 9781905700691

Some of the greatest writers of 16th and 17th century Spain are represented here, in translations from 16th and 17th century England. This was an era when translation was important for the dissemination of new styles and forms, and it gives a fascinating view of two great literatures interacting — for both were at their peak: the Spanish Golden Age stretches from roughly 1540 to 1660, and the first great era of English poetry and drama overlaps this almost exactly. Poems by Montemayor, Boscán, Garcilaso, Góngora, Quevedo, Cervantes, Argensola and Mendoza; translations by Sidney, Ayres, Fanshawe, Drummond, Stanley, Yong and Shelton.

Picture of book cover Tony Frazer (ed): Spanish Poetry of the Golden Age, in contemporary English translations
Buy this poetry book button
 
Mary, Lady Chudleigh: Selected Poems

Shearsman Classics No. 4. Edited by Julie Sampson. 
Published 2009. Paperback, 148pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $18
ISBN 9781848610484 [Download a sample from this book here.]

Mary, Lady Chudleigh (1656–1710) was a confidante of John Dryden and a leading figure amongst the women writers of her day. In many ways a proto-feminist, Lady Chudleigh was still a provincial aristocrat and devout Protestant, and her work shows many of the apparent contradictions of the early modern era. This is the only selection of her work available in paperback, and her work deserves to be known for more than a few anthology standards.

Picture of book cover Mary, Lady Chudleigh: Selected Poems
Buy this poetry book button
 
William Strode: Selected Poems

Shearsman Classics No. 5. Edited by Tony Frazer. 
Published 2009. Paperback, 100pp, 8.5 x 5.5ins, £9.95 / $18
ISBN 9781848610057 [Download a sample from this book here.]

William Strode, born in Plympton, Devon, in the early years of the 17th century, is a little-known poet of the Jacobean and Caroline eras, but he was a fine lyric poet and little deserves his oblivion. Hitherto the only publication of his work was by Bertram Dobell in 1907, since which time he has often been anthologised but never again granted a volume of his own. This volume redresses the balance.

Picture of book cover William Strode: Selected Poems
Buy this poetry book button
 
Sir Thomas Wyatt: Selected Poems

Shearsman Classics No. 6. Edited by Michael Smith
Published 2010. Paperback, 110pp, 8.5 x 5.5ins, £9.95 / $18
ISBN 9781848611023 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503–1542) was born at Allington Castle in Kent. he studied at St John's College, Cambridge, and served King Henry VIII in various capacities both at home and abroad. he was knighted in 1535, but was imprisoned in the Tower a year alter following a quarrel with the Duke of Suffolk, but also perhaps because of suspicion that he had been the lover of Anne Boleyn — a woman he had known for many years and with whim he had been linked at one time. He was released the same year, then was to fall afoul of authority on at least two further occasions, but was again pardoned. He is remembered today as one of the most important poets in the English language, and as the man who brought the sonnet into English, with his spectacular imitations and re-creations of Petrarch. His work is broader than that, however, and he also showed himself to be a fine elegist and satirist, as well as a lyric poet of the very first order.

Picture of book cover Sir Thomas Wyatt: Selected Poems
Buy this poetry book button
 
Tottel's Miscellany (1557)

Shearsman Classics No. 7 (The Tudor Miscellanies Vol. 1) 
Published 2010. Paperback, 300pp, 9x6ins, £12.95 / $21 
ISBN 9781848611030 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

1557 saw the publication of this ground-breaking volume: the first printed anthology of contemporary poetry in English. The book is built on a foundation of two recently-deceased aristocratic poets, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, who had by their example given English poetry a new direction, above all with the introduction of the Petrarchan sonnet, but also with the invention of blank verse. The anthology was to have an enormous impact, giving witness to the latest developments in English verse for a far bigger public than would have been the norm in the mid-16th century, when manuscripts tended to circulate anonymously and in a small circle of gentlemen.

Picture of book cover Tottel's Miscellany (1557)
Buy this poetry book button
 
The Phoenix Nest (1593)

Shearsman Classics No. 8 (The Tudor Miscellanies Vol. 2) 
Published 2010. Paperback, 116pp, 9x6ins, £10.95 / $18.50
ISBN 9781848611047[Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Following the publication of Tottel's Miscellany in 1557, a number of other such miscellanies appeared, none of them especially significant from an artistic point of view. In 1593, however, a still-unidentified gentleman known only by his initials (R.S.) published this relatively slim, well-printed and well-designed compilation, which included works by a number of significant poets of the day — those identified are Sir Walter Raleigh, Thomas Lodge, Nicholas Breton, Robert Greene, George Peele, the Earl of Oxford, Sir Edward Dyer, and Thomas Watson. It is almost certain that the Phoenix of the title was Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586), to whom the first three elegies in the book are dedicated.

Picture of book cover The Phoenix Nest (1593)
Buy this poetry book button
 
Englands Helicon (1600)

Shearsman Classics No. 9 (The Tudor Miscellanies Vol. 3) 
Published 2010. Paperback, 228pp, 9x6ins, £12.95 / $21
ISBN 9781848611054 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Following the publication in 1557 of Tottel's Miscellany, a number of other anthologies or miscellanies appeared. Englands Helicon differs from its predecessors in representing a particular style of writing — the newly fashionable pastoral style, with its origins in the classics, and above all Virgil, but actually adopted from Spanish, French and Italian models. Indeed, the largest selection of any one author in this book is of Batholomew Yong, and his translations of Montemayor's Diana — a pastoral in verse and prose which was popular throughout Europe. It was not that these poets were actually much enamoured of nature or of the countryside: the pastoral style was like a suit of clothes that could be donned in order to express certain subjects — above all, love — without getting into hot water.

Picture of book cover Englands Helicon (1600)
Buy this poetry book button
 
Mary Coleridge Selected Poems

Shearsman Classics No. 10. Edited by Simon Avery. 
Published 2010. Paperback, 124pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $18
ISBN 9781848611399  [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Clearly suggesting the influence of poets such as Robert Browning, Emily Brontë and Christina Rossetti, and paralleling the techniques of more modern poets like Thomas Hardy, Charlotte Mew and D.H. Lawrence, the poems of Mary Coleridge (1861–1907) have much to tell us about the shifting nature of poetry and poetics in the Victorian fin-de-siècle and early twentieth century and they certainly deserve to be more widely known than they currently are.

Picture of book cover Mary Coleridge Selected Poems
Buy this poetry book button
 
D.H. Lawrence Look! We Have Come Through!

Shearsman Classics No. 11. Introduced by Jeremy Hooker. 
Published 2011. Paperback, 126pp, 9x6ins, £9.95 / $18
ISBN 9781848611566 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Lawrence ... describes the poems [in this first collection of his unrhymed poems] as "intended as an essential story, or history, or confession", the critical experience occurring in the period of, "roughly, the sixth lustre of a man's life"—that is, from the age of 25 to 30. His Argument emphasizes the dramatic nature of the sequence. He speaks of "the protagonist" and of "the conflict of love and hate [that] goes on between the man and the woman, and between these two and the world around them, till it reaches some sort of conclusion, they transcend into some condition of blessedness". Foreword and Argument complement each other: Look! is both a personal confession and a drama. In both respects, it is closely related to the three novels which belong to the same period, 1912–1917. (From Jeremy Hooker's Introduction)

Picture of book cover D.H. Lawrence Look! We Have Come Through!
Buy this poetry book button
 
D.H. Lawrence Birds, Beasts and Flowers

Shearsman Classics No. 12. Introduced by Jeremy Hooker 
Published 2011. Paperback, 180pp, 9x6ins, £10.95 / $18.50 
ISBN 9781848611573 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Birds, Beasts and Flowers (1923) was the volume that Lawrence himself descr ibed as his best collection of poetry. Composed in various locations during his exile —in Italy, France, Germany and the United States — this long collection occupies a crucial place in the development of his poetry and is that rarest of creations: a masterpiece of modernist nature writing. This version offers the full text of the first British edition (which included the poems from Tortoises, excluded from the US edition). The prose prefaces, composed for a later re-issue, are also included.

Picture of book cover D.H. Lawrence Birds, Beasts and Flowers
Buy this poetry book button
 
D.H. Lawrence Studies in Classic American Literature

Shearsman Classics No. 13. Introduced by Jon Thompson. 
Published 2011. Paperback, 196pp, 9x6ins, £10.95 / $18.50
ISBN 9781848611580 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Studies in Classic American Literature […] is at once a work of cultural criticism, a study and critique of American myths, a meditation on the relationship between the Old World and the New, a new theory of the self, a theory of textuality (and a fearless demonstration of a radical, self-styled form of psycho-social criticism), a theory of art, a history of America, a critique of the Enlightenment and one of the greatest covert autobiographies in world literature (all the writers in the book represent either versions of Lawrence's self or versions of himself he felt he had to liberate). And, of course, it is a bravura interpretation of "classic" American texts, one of the most innovative and penetrating critical performances of modern times.
—from Jon Thompson's Introduction.

Picture of book cover D.H. Lawrence Studies in Classic American Literature
Buy this poetry book button
 
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust — A Tragedy

Shearsman Classics No. 14. Translated from German by Mike Smith.
Published 2012. Paperback, 206pp, 9x6ins, £12.95 / $20
ISBN 9781848612143 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

A new translation of one of the greatest monuments of German literature. This is the famous first part (Faust. Der Tragödie erster Teil), and does not include the extraordinary (and virtually unstageable) Part 2, completed many years later. First published in 1808, and then in a revised edition in 1829, the story — a variant of the old Faustus legend — concerns the scientist (or perhaps, better, natural philosopher), Dr Heinrich Faust, whose scientific quests, and their lack of success, lead him into a state of great frustration. Parallel to this, Mephistopheles (the Devil) lays a wager with God that he can subvert God's favoured human (for this is Faust).… (more on the book page)

Picture of book cover Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust — A Tragedy
Buy this poetry book button
 
Robert Browning Dramatic Romances

Shearsman Classics No. 15
Published 2012. Paperback, 164pp, 9x6ins, £10.95 / $18.50
ISBN 9781848612518 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

In Browning's bicentenary year, Shearsman publishes several volumes devoted to his work, starting with a collection of his shorter "long" poems, organised as the poet wished when he put together his complete works. 'The Pied Piper of Hamelin' is here, alongside 'The Last Duchess' and many other favoutite poems.

Browning divided the majority of these shorter works into groups: Dramatic Lyrics, Dramatic Romances, Men and Women (the latter also being the title of one of his more successful verse collections).

Picture of book cover Robert Browning Dramatic Romances
Buy this poetry book button
 
Robert Browning Sordello

Shearsman Classics No. 16
Published 2012. Paperback, 208pp, 9x6ins, £12.95 / $20
ISBN 9781848612525 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

A book-length poem that caused great consternation when it first appeared in 1840, Sordello became a byword for poetic difficulty, both because of its unfamiliar subject-matter (as now, few people had a grasp of the arcana of Italian medieval politics), but also because of Browning's verse style. His language is here impacted, with the reader needing to be especially alert to follow the twists and turns of the narrative. Sordello is an important work, and crucial in Browning's development. It is also an astonishing work to come from the pen of a 28-year-old, and one can see why Ezra Pound treated it so seriously when he was about to embark upon The Cantos.

Picture of book cover Robert Browning Sordello
Buy this poetry book button
 
Robert Browning The Ring and the Book

Shearsman Classics No. 17
Published 2012. Paperback, 617pp, 9x6ins, £19.95 / $29.95
ISBN 9781848612532 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

If Sordello is a book-length poem, then The Ring and the Book—in its day regarded as Browning's greatest achievement, but today seemingly out of fashion—is something different. It is in fact a great novel, but one presented in blank verse, almost 21,000 lines of it, and in twelve books, each representing a different view of the action (a court case involving adultery and murder) by one of the protagonists. Why it has been called an "epic poem" is a puzzle; it is epic only in length; it is a poem only because it is in verse. Pushkin's Yevgeny Onegin is everywhere regarded as a novel, although it is in verse. The Ring and the Book is the greatest of all English verse novels; it is one of the great English novels of the 19th century; it is a remarkably modern novel in terms of narrative technique; it is, by any standards, a great work of English Literature. It is offered by Shearsman in the author's bicentenary year, as it simply should not be out of print.... if Penguin were doing its job, we wouldn't have to do it.

Picture of book cover Robert Browning The Ring and the Book
Buy this poetry book button
 
Fernando de Herrera Selected Poems
Shearsman Classics No. 18. 

Translated from Spanish by Luis Ingelmo & Michael Smith. Bilingual.

Published 2014. Paperback, 146pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $18

ISBN 9781848613348 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]
 
Perhaps the greatest of Spain's Renaissance poets, Fernando de Herrera (1534-97), a native of Seville, was the writer who took on board the experiments with Italian forms carried out by his predecessors Juan Boscán and Garcilaso de la Vega (whose work he edited and annotated), and made of them a native style. As it was with many other poets elsewhere — such as Sir Thomas Wyatt in England — the example of Petrarch, both directly, and as mediated by Garcilaso, was crucial in the development of Herrera's elegant vernacular verse. With Garcilaso, Boscán and Herrera, Spanish poetry takes wing. The generation that followed Herrera was to be the greatest literary flowering in Spanish history.
 
Picture of book cover Picture of Fernando de Herrera Selected Poems
Buy this poetry book button
 
Thomas Gray The English Poems

Shearsman Classics No. 19.
Published 2014. Paperback, 152pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $18
ISBN 9781848613577 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Thomas Gray was the author of some of the most admired poems of the 18th century, the famous 'Elegy' among them, but his reputation continues to rest on a handful of masterpieces, while the rest of his work has faded from view. This book offers all of his poems in English — he wrote also in Latin and Greek — and his translations into English from Italian and Latin, together with a brief introduction and notes.

Picture of book cover Thomas Gray The English Poems
Buy this poetry book button
 
Antonio Machado  Solitudes and Other Early Poems

Shearsman Classics series, No. 20.
Translated from Spanish by Michael Smith & Luis Ingelmo.

Published 2015. Paperback, 166pp, 9x6ins, £10.95 / $18
ISBN 9781848613911 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Antonio Machado is, without a doubt, the father of modern Spanish lyric poetry: a bridge that stretches between Bécquer, Rubén Darío and the generation of Jiménez, Lorca, Alberti, Guillén and Aleixandre. An early visit to Paris and an engagement with Symbolism, and its Spanish equivalent, modernism, in the shape of Rubén Darío, was to determine his course as a poet. Machado, however, unlike many of the French symbolists and perhaps because he was Spanish, never turned his back on common reality. Rather, reality and natural images were as sacred to him as mysterious cyphers, flickering shadows at the mouth of the Cave. He was a deeply humanitarian poet; he believed in human emotions and intuitions, and he was always opposed to the baroque in Spanish poetry because he saw it as cerebral or conceptual and therefore an inadequate means of receiving significance from the temporal flux in which human beings live.
Cover of Antonio Machado - Solitudes and Other Early Poems

 
John Donne  Poems (1633)

Shearsman Classics series, No. 21. 
Published 2015. Paperback, 332pp, 9x6ins, £14.95 / $22
ISBN 9781848613874 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

This volume—presented in the original spelling, with all its inconsistencies—reproduces the text of Poems by J.D. With Elegies on the Authors Death, published in 1633, two years after Donne’s death. Very little of Donne’s poetry had been published during his lifetime but it was much prized and many manuscript copies survive from the period, although only one is in the author’s hand. This first edition of Poems by J.D. remains a monument and—unusually for posthumous publications of this kind—very little of the contents was not Donne’s work, only two poems having been incorrectly attributed. 

Cover of John Donne - Poems (1633)
 
Thomas Carew  Collected Poems

Shearsman Classics series, No. 22. 
Published 2015. Paperback,200pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £12.95 / $20 
ISBN 9781848614390 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Thomas Carew (1595-1640) was, with Robert Herrick, the finest poet of the “tribe of Ben”, the poets who gathered around Ben Jonson in the taverns of Southwark in the early 17th century. This collected edition is the only complete edition of his poems available.

 

Cover of Thomas Carew - Collected Poems
 
Gerard Manley Hopkins   The Wreck of the Deutschland

Published February 2017. Paperback, 88pp, 8.5 x 5.5ins, £9.95 / $17
ISBN 9781848615342 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

This volume contains the complete text of the great Hopkins poem, together with Nigel Foxell's introduction and his copious notes, touching on nearly every line in the poem. An indispensable reader's guide to one of the great poems in the language.
 
‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’‚ deserves and requires close and subtle attention from the imagination and intellect of critics. A new generation of readers will be grateful to Nigel Foxell, poet, novelist and scholar, for the diligence and love he has brought to bear on this formidable task.
Cover of Gerard Manley Hopkins - The Wreck of the Deutschland