This fascinating, hopeful book delivers much more than its title promises. Its focus is the “object-life” of a single Henrician court poem (3), Thomas Wyatt’s “They Flee from Me,” from its first known appearance in manuscript to its publication in the epoch-making Tottel’s Miscellany (1557) to its antiquarian reprinting and editing in middle modernity, its uptake among the New Critics and New Historicists of the twentieth century, and its current place as an anthology piece and mainstay in the English literature classroom. The methodological experiment alone—with the play of scale between three stanzas of rhyme royal and five hundred years of literary history, between one reluctant author and myriad readers, commentators, collectors, scholars, and educators—is worth the price of admission. But this book could not have been written using just any poem. As Murphy reminds us, “They Flee from Me” is about...
Book Review| September 01 2020
The Long Public Life of a Short Private Poem: Reading and Remembering Thomas Wyatt
The Long Public Life of a Short Private Poem: Reading and Remembering Thomas Wyatt. By Murphy, Peter.
Stanford University Press,
2019. xvi + 246 pp.
Modern Language Quarterly (2020) 81 (3): 377–379.
Jeffrey Todd Knight; The Long Public Life of a Short Private Poem: Reading and Remembering Thomas Wyatt. Modern Language Quarterly 1 September 2020; 81 (3): 377–379. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-8351610
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