The Spirit of the English Language

A Practical Guide for Poets, Teachers and Students: How Sound Works in English & American Poetry

John H. Wulsin

Price:
£25.00
Availability:
Available to buy

Quick Look

Traces how the sounds of English have changed, through thirteen centuries of poetry.

Format:
paperback
Size:
234 x 156 mm
Publisher:
Lindisfarne Books
Subject:
Art & Literature
Extent:
400 pages
ISBN:
9781584200635
Publication date:
26 Feb 2009

Description

John Wulsin, a language teacher of thirty years, here traces the spirit and evolution of the English language. Taking poetry as his guide, he examines how English has sounded over the past thirteen centuries, and how those changes have affected Western consciousness. This work, destined to be a classic, is filled with the textures of the lives and works of the great English-language poets, from Beowulf and Chaucer to Gerard Manley Hopkins and Emily Dickinson.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Part I
A Language Is Born
Old Anglo-Saxon
Evolving Language in Evolving Adolescents
The Norman Conquest
Chaucer’s Middle English
The Language Wakes up, Renewed
Elizabethan English: Shakespeare
Expansion and Contraction: King James Bible
Part II
Lyric Activity in Metaphysical Poetry: John Donne
The English Epic: Milton
The Eighteenth Century and Blake
Wordsworth
Coleridge
Byron
Shelley
Keats
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Robert Browning
Tennyson
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Part III
Alteration of the Early American Mind
Poetry in American Prose: The Novel
Whitman
Emily Dickinson
Contemporary American Speech
Speech and Drama in High School
Conclusion

Reviews

'John Wulsin’s collection will inspire English teachers, new or seasoned, and will charm poetry lovers of any age. Biographical sketches show how poets help to create the culture and consciousness of their particular historical times. To open Wulsin’s book is to open the door of a lively classroom.'
--Gertrude Hughes, Professor Emerita, Wesleyan University, author of Emerson’s Demanding Optimism

'Each section of the book provides an insightful biography of the poet being considered, and a sense for the life stage in which they were writing, together with the wider contemporary and evolutionary context … this is a fine book.'
-- Paul Matthews, New View

Author

John Wulsin trained as a Steiner-Waldorf teacher at Emerson College and has taught English and Drama at Green Meadow Waldorf School in New York State for twenty-seven years. He is on the editorial board of Renewal: A Journal for Waldorf Education and is the author of Laws of the Living Language and Proverbs of Purgatory.

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