Beowulf Criticism

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When Ceremony and Other Poems, the book in which "Beowulf" first appeared, was published, the critic Joseph Bennett called Wilbur the "strongest poetic talent" of his generation. He singled out "Beowulf," calling it a "curious and disturbing vision which partakes of the nature of a poetic charm." Others acknowledge Wilbur's poetic workmanship; poet-critic Louise Bogan writes that he had proved himself a "subtle lyricist of the first order." Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Babette Deutsch notes his "musicianly skill." In further analysis, she describes the poems as "alive with light," yet "apt to close upon a somber chord, to admit an intrusive shadow."

Without denying Wilbur's ability, some critics feel he was too cautious in his writing. Randall Jarrell, reviewing the book in the Partisan Review, remarks that the "poems are all Scenes, none of them dramatic." He states that Wilbur "never goes too far...

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This section contains 411 words
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Buy the Beowulf Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Beowulf from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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