Henry Gifford (1913 - 2003) was a scholar of English and comparative literature and proved himself a scholar-critic possessed of far- reaching sympathies, of precise discernment, of humane learning and of wisdom.
This book (comprising four lectures presented at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1985) is concerned with the function and status of poetry in the twentieth century, and is particularly concerned to contrast attitudes in Britain and America with those in the USSR and Eastern Europe. Beginning with the function of poetry today, Professor Gifford goes on to consider the nature and validity of 'poetic witness', the problem of the poet's solitude and his relation to the community, and finally the question of how far the 'international code' of poetry can be understood by those who care for it seriously in their own language.
The author, who has published on many aspects of twentieth-century poetry, has attempted an 'apology for poetry' in an age which needs, but tends to ignore, this art formerly at the centre of European civilisation. Amongst the poets discussed are Blok, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Emily Dickinson, Yeats, Pound, Eliot, Cavafy and Seferis.
There is a dedication signed by the author on the front free end paper.
Apart from the odd spot of foxing, the book is in excellent condition throughout.