The first true masterpiece of English literature, Beowulf depicts the thrilling adventures of a Scandinavian warrior of the sixth century. A true pleasure to read, the work has influenced many important writers, including J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings. Part history and part mythology, Beowulf begin…Read More »
The first part of Dante's Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Francis Cary), the "Inferno" (or "Hell") begins on the night before Good Friday in the year 1300, "halfway along our life's path". Dante is thirty-five years old, half of the biblical life expectancy of 70, lost in a dark wood, assailed by beasts he cannot…Read More »
The final volume of Dante's, Divine Comedy; Paradise. Having plunged to the uttermost depths of Hell and climbed the Mount of Purgatory, Dante ascends to Heaven, continuing his soul's search for God, guided by his beloved Beatrice. As he progresses through the spheres of Paradise he grows in understanding, until he …Read More »
The second volume of the Divine Comedy presents the Purgatory. Continuing the story of the poet's journey through the medieval Other World under the guidance of the Roman poet Virgil, the Purgatory culminates in the regaining of the Garden of Eden and the reunion there with the poet's long-lost love Beatrice.
Based on the fable of the man who traded his soul for superhuman powers and knowledge, it became the life's work of Germany's greatest poet, Goethe. Beginning with an intriguing wager between God and Satan, it charts the life of a deeply flawed individual, his struggle against the nihilism of his diabolical companio…Read More »
In Greek mythology, Helen, better known as Helen of Sparta or Helen of Troy, was daughter of Zeus and Leda, wife of king Menelaus of Sparta and sister of Castor, Polydeuces and Clytemnestra. Her abduction by Paris brought about the Trojan War. Helen was described as having the face that launched a thousand ships. He…Read More »
There are few modern poems of any country so perfect in their kind as the Hermann and Dorothea of Goethe. In clearness of characterization, in unity of tone, in the adjustment of background and foreground, in the conduct of the narrative, it conforms admirably to the strict canons of art; yet it preserves a freshn…Read More »
It is a spectacular collection of poems and songs in which Milton's particular dramatic and natural chic is evident. The poetry is effervescent as it is spontaneous gush of thoughts, rhythmic and the lyrical measures delight the reader and bound him to read till it ends.
Milton's poem of epic scale, conjuring up a vast, awe-inspiring cosmos and ranging across huge tracts of space and time. And yet, in putting a charismatic Satan and naked Adam and Eve at the centre of this story, he also created an intensely human tragedy on the Fall of Man. Written when Milton was in his fifties – …Read More »
Satan is out for revenge. His rebellion has failed, he has been cast out from heaven and is doomed to spend eternity in hell. Somehow he must find a way to prove his power and wound his enemies. He fixes upon God's beloved new creations, Adam and Eve, as the vehicles of his vengeance. In this dramatic and influentia…Read More »
These complimentary pieces have been sufficiently censured by a great authority, but no very candid judge either of Milton or his panegyrists. He, however, must have a heart sadly indifferent to the glory of his country, who is not gratified by the thought that she may exult in a son whom, young as he was, the Learn…Read More »
The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, which tells of the seduction of the shepherd Anchises by the love-goddess Aphrodite, has long been recognized as a masterpiece of early Western literature. This edition is designed as a reference tool to aid scholars and students in their study of the poem. The introduction and comment…Read More »
Pope had been fascinated by Homer since childhood and in 1713 announced his plans to publish a translation of the Iliad. The work would be available by subscription, with one volume appearing every year over the course of six years. Pope secured a revolutionary deal with the publisher Bernard Lintot, which brought h…Read More »