Explaining the Major Themes in English Poetry: Religion, Nature, Classics, Romance, Individual Struggle, Politics

Author: Chishty-Mujahid, Nadya
Year:2014
Pages:152
ISBN:0-7734-4348-7
978-0-7734-4348-8
Price:139.95
The text focuses on six major themes often found in canonical English poetry. These include religion, nature, classics, romance, individual struggle, and politics. Using representative works of famous poets including, but not limited to, Milton, Donne, Shakespeare, Keats, Kipling and the Rossetti siblings, the book links poems on diverse and varied topics (such as the Virgin Mary, colonial India, and Tudor history) in order to illustrate the richness and complexity of the literary canon.

An impressive and compelling contribution to the study of poetry that will enchant students of literature and casual readers for years to come. Instead of using chronological division of works the author arranges the poems according to central themes in literature. The text’s main aim is to make challenging poems more approachable and accessible to young undergraduates.

Reviews

“Being well-established in canonical English literature, she smoothly and gracefully projects the joy of literature onto the reader, who I am certain, will find it extremely difficult to put the book aside before the very last page is swiftly reached.”
-Professor Eman El-Meligi,
Department of English
Damanhur University, Alexandria


“This book is an impressive and compelling contribution to the study of poetry that will enchant students of literature and casual readers for years to come. A variety of central and always fascinating themes in poetry, takes readers of Mujahid’s book through centuries of concern for subjects ranging from religion, nature, reading Homer, romance and love, to culminate with politics. The study of heterogeneous and diverse voices of dignitaries and poets from Milton to Katherine of Aragon, also explore the ekphrastic relationship of these voices with celebrated images in works of visual art, making Mujahid’s work more relevant and meaningful to the study of poetry, while exploring the question of how poetry can remain lively and inspiriting in the age of globalization.”
-Professor Rosa Maria Stoops,
Department of Foreign Languages,
University of Montevallo


“At the onset of this volume Nadya Chishty-Mujahid remarks that “deep joy” informs the teaching of poetry. At the close she notes that good poetry invites its readers to deep study by first enchanting them. These three strands – joy, enchantment, and the aspiration to know more – entwine in this excellently annotated anthology of English canonical poems. Mujahid is to be congratulated for her judicious selections and perceptive commentaries. Perhaps less widely valued today than it was just a century ago, poetry is (to borrow E.M. Forster’s felicitous expression) “a breathing hole for the human spirit,” and the poems in this volume awake one to a least three realizations that scarcely register anymore in our hurry-scurry world of high technology. First, nature resonates mythic and spiritual overtones; second, the past runs uphill to the great religious and mythological events of antiquity – the Incarnation, Pluto’s abduction of Persephone, and so on: the third, long ago was not so long ago- the aforementioned events yet inform the present moment, and the operation of nature, in real and tangible ways. Perhaps when these poems were written reality was not much different from what it is today, but what counted as reality for the poets under consideration was often very different. This book is an essential portal to older and other ways of experiencing the world.”
-Professor David Grady,
Brigham Young University


“In this useful follow-up book to her Explaining the Canonical Poems of English literature (Mellen, 2012), Dr. Chishty-Mujahid explores central themes of English Literature. These range from religion and romance to politics. This book is a useful undergraduate companion for any student who wants to cement his or her understanding of British Literature. Teachers may also find this to be a helpful guide to preparing and structuring lessons. The best aspect of the book is that it combines Mujahid’s sound scholarly knowledge with clear and interesting background commentaries on major English poems. Students will find it much easier to approach and interpret these poems and themes with the help of Mujahid’s text.”
-Professor Saiyad Nizamuddin Ahmad,
The American University in Cairo


Table of Contents

Foreword by Eman El-Meligi
Acknowledgements
Alphabetical Table of Titles
Alphabetical Table of First Lines
Introduction
The Theme of Religion
The Theme of Nature
The Theme of Classics
The Theme of Romance
The Theme of Individual Struggle
The Theme of Politics
Conclusion