C.H. Sisson was born in Bristol in 1914. To celebrate his centenary, this Reader includes a generous selection of his poems, translations and essays. The poems are drawn from all periods of Sisson's writing life, from the darkly satirical work of the 1950s and 1960s to the Virgilian Somerset poems to the reflective late poems in which Sisson, looking out on the landscape he cherished, sees himself standing at the 'last promontory of life'. The essays demonstrate the wit, precision and sheer scope of Sisson's writings on literature, culture and politics (he was a senior civil servant before retirement). The editors declare, 'No poet has written with anything like his intimate knowledge of the workings of government, and few have had a clearer sense of the role of literature in participating in civic life.' An heir to Marvell, Hardy and Edward Thomas, Sisson brings to this essential Englishness the disruptive energies of modernism. Never a comfortable or comforting writer, he is an incisive intelligence and speaks with clarity to the twenty-firstcentury reader's expectations and discontents. This book, first published in 1993, collects Spark's essays on the Brontës, her selection of their letters and of Emily's poetry. Evident throughout are Spark's critical intelligence, dry wit, and refusal to sentimentalise - qualities that gave her own novels their particular appeal. At the same time, The Essence of the Brontës is Muriel Spark's tribute to the sisters whose talents 'placed them on a stage from where they could hypnotize their own generation and, even more, posterity'.
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