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Addressed to all readers of poetry, this is a wide-ranging book about the poet's role throughout the last three centuries. It argues that a conception of the poets as both primitive and sophisticated emerged in the 1750s. Encouraged by the classroom when English literary works began to be studied in universities, this view continues to shape our own attitudes towards verse. Whether considering Ossian and the Romantics, Victorian scholar-gipsies, Modernist poetries of knowledge, or contemporary poetry in Britian, Ireland, and America, The Modern Poet shows how many successive generations of poets have needed to collaborate and to battle with academia.
Robert Crawford is Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at the University of St Andrews, and author of four volumes of poetry and four books of criticism. He is co-editor (with Simon Armitage) of The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945.