The Complete Poetical Works: Volume I
George Crabbe (1754-1832) was acclaimed by his contemporaries as a major poet. The leading reviewer of the day, Francis Jeffrey, paid tribute to his powerful originality. Byron pronounced him 'Though Nature's sternest Painter, yet the best'. Sir Walter Scott, and Jane Austen, who declared that she would have married him, were among his many admirers. In our own time both critics and poets have praised his penetrating insights into human motivation, his realism, and his unique use of landscape as a setting for his poems and verse tales; and he is well known as the author of Peter Grimes, on which Benjamin Britten based his opera. Yet there has not been a collected edition of his verse since A.W. Ward's, some eighty years ago. The present edition draws on much recently discovered manuscript material in this country and in the USA, including a finished manuscript, with proofs, of Tales of the Hall, and manuscripts of four unpublished tales and of a number of shorter poems. Close attention has been paid to the evolution of the text from the rough pencil drafts in Crabbe's notebooks to the final version on the printed page. An extensive Commentary relates both to the literary context and to Crabbe's many observations on the social scene of his day.
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