‘The City in the Sea’ – A poem by Edgar Allan Poe

Context: The poem appeared in the Southern Literary Messenger, The American Review, the Broadway Journal, as well as in the 1850 collection The Poets and Poetry of America. Poe drew his inspiration from several works, including Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The final version of text appeared in 1845 and contains many subjects associated with …

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‘After great pain, a formal feeling comes’- A poem by Emily Dickinson

Context: A poem written by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) from Amherst, Mass. This poem is about the experience related to bodily pain and it's presented to the reader in various conflicting images and words. The poem was found after Emily's death. The poem is very typical of what Emily usually writes about: sensitivity to her external surroundings …

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Notes on “She Walks in Beauty” by Lord Byron

Context: A romantic poem by George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) in honour of his cousin Mrs. Wilmot. "She Walks in Beauty" is a short lyrical poem in iambic tetrameter written in 1813 by Byron and is one of his most famous works. Notes: Here are some notes on the use of Old English words in the …

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The impossible life of Mary Benson : Reflections on a biography

A FEW YEARS ago a biography over a Victorian Archbishop's wife saw daylight. It got some attention in British press. Mary Benson (1841-1918) was an ordinary vicar's wife whose husband one day became the Archbishop of Canterbury. Edward W. Benson (1829-1896) reached the highest office within the Church of England and of the world-wide Anglican communion. Author …

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Ancient Mythology in Poe’s novel ‘Ligeia’ (1838)

Context and themes Edgar A. Poe's short novel Ligeia was first published in September 1838 by The American Museum in Baltimore.1 Poe, who was always short of money, was given 10 dollars for the story. It's a mix of Gothic fiction and several other themes which are typical for the Romanticism. The major themes in …

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“Sonnet 55” – A poem by W. Shakespeare

Context : The English sonnet contains three quatrains followed by a final rhyming couplet. The lines are in iambic pentameter: 10 syllables and 5 stresses per line. Themes : Love, immortality and memory. The beloved is glorified and compared to worldy goods and riches; but the message is that the beloved is the one who will live …

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“The Flea” – A poem by John Donne

Context : The Flea is one of John Donne's (1572-1631)  most famous poems. Johnny Donnie is perhaps one of the brighest poets ever from the gloriana time as Elizabetan culture produced names like Shakespeare and culture flourished greatly. However, Donne's family were Catholics and had suffered greatly because of the open prosecution and discrimination against …

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