MixedHudson ReviewMiller brings a fresh eye to the Keats story and to the poems, though it is one that feels somewhat politically correct
at times ... Strewn with opinions that seem adopted to bring Keats down a notch or two from the level of sanctification argued by earlier
critics ... But the allegation that Keats’s family fortune, modest though it was, just might have been tainted with the profits of slavery, an unproven theory, seems culturally rote; and at a different level entirely, to complain that Keats’s epistolary style is \'carelessly punctuated\' is just schoolmarmish. Miller accuses Keats of a sort of social climbing in his admiration for Shelley over Burns, which is simply wrong-headed ... These criticisms are not meant to denigrate Miller’s book which, on the whole, is stylish, deeply well-informed, and accessibly written. She tells us at the outset that her book is \'by a reader for readers.\' In other words, it does not fall into the usual genre of academic literary criticism, and it certainly benefits by that avoidance ... Some of Miller’s speculations are a bit questionable, if not far-fetched, but I admire the way that she often poses some theory...before admitting what is true.
PositiveThe Hudson ReviewKanigel has not had much to go on in attempting to portray the scholar’s inner life. There exist no intimate journals, apart from an early one that records Parry’s only trip to Greece, and many of the principal persons in Parry’s life are dead now. Parry’s professional life has been much easier to document, and Kanigel does a fine job filling in the details of a career in a scholarly discipline that is recherché and not particularly fascinating to most people ... Kanigel’s lively reconstruction of his experiences in the Balkans (he was there twice) makes for compelling reading ... It is hard to forget Kanigel’s description of an eighty-eight-year-old singer from Gacko, a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who packed a pistol in his belt and sported a \'black band in his cap to mourn the Serb defeat at Kosovo in 1389.\' That is a long memory in a sense altogether distinct from the memory for hexameters.
PositiveToronto Star (CAN)Solie inhabits the country too, as a kind of poetry tourist or literate anchorite, guided by figures as famous as St. Augustine and Ovid and as obscure as St. Fillan or St. Ethernan. She seems to share the confusions of that transitional age ... Solie’s poetic language can be indisputably, almost wilfully prosaic ... This deeply unpoetic language exists inside a four-line stanza that is followed with absolute regularity ... if some poems seem to fail through obscurity and unconvincing diction, there are certainly other times when a line or a whole poem feels authentically rife with poetic pleasure and even something approaching wisdom ... Lovely images...demonstrate that Solie has a fine poetic imagination.