“A Stanley Burnshaw Reader provides a valuable overview of one of the most unusual—and longest: spanning seven decades—literary careers of our time.”
Stanley Burnshaw’s career—as poet, novelist, critic, biographer, translator, and editor—spanned more than six decades. His involvement in literary circles dates from his years as an editor of the weekly New Masses (1934–36). There, in a review of Wallace Stevens’s Ideas of Order, Burnshaw began his famous debate with Stevens, challenging the poet for his lack of engagement with social issues. During his years with Holt, Rinehart, and Winston (1958–67), he served as Robert Frost’s editor, a relationship that led to the intimately revealing biography Robert Frost Himself.
A Stanley Burnshaw Reader brings together selections from the major works of poetry and prose that have distinguished Burnshaw as one of the most important voices in twentieth-century letters. Included are essays from Burnshaw’s two pioneering critical works: The Seamless Web, praised by the New York Times Book Review as “a defense of poetry that removes it from the realm of man’s spiritual luxuries and places it preeminently among his instruments of survival”; and The Poem Itself, a book that deals with forty-five poets of the last century in an entirely novel way which, as Lionel Trilling observed, “allows the English-speaking reader an unprecedented intimacy with poems in the original tongues.” Along with a generous excerpt from Robert Frost Himself, this volume offers a representative selection of Burnshaw’s poetry and his translations of other poets’ work.
A Stanley Burnshaw Reader affords those unfamiliar with Burnshaw an ideal introduction to his work. At the same time, readers who know his writings will discover new insights into his long and distinguished career.
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