Cover: The Lyric Impulse, from Harvard University PressCover: The Lyric Impulse in E-DITION

The Lyric Impulse

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674331396

Publication Date: 01/01/1965

Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

C. Day Lewis, the eminent poet, traces the “singing line” through English poetry from the sixteenth century to the present day. He discusses the original nature of lyric as words for singing, and shows how the liberation of the form from music enabled poets to enlarge its scope and deepen its imaginative capacity. The “story lyric,” or traditional ballad, is then examined—its sources and modern development; in “The Common Muse,” Day Lewis deals with popular verse and the effect of industrial civilization upon poetic utterance. “Country Lyrics,” after considering the problems of writing nature poetry in a scientific age, concentrates on the lyric verse of John Clare and William Barnes. Finally, in “The Golden Bridle,” Day Lewis turns to the contemporary love lyric, and gives a personal account of the making of lyrical poetry.

The author throughout relates the traditional uses of lyric with its more recent developments. He is aware that modern sophistication, together with our contemporary demand that poetry should be tough, complex, and ironic, runs counter to the simpleness, purity, and “aerated” quality of lyric writing. But he believes that the lyric impulse flows from deep in man’s heart, and to deny it would be to impoverish poetry.

From Our Blog

Jacket: Out of My Skull: The Psychology of Boredom, by James Danckert and John D. Eastwood, from Harvard University Press

Responding to Boredom during Self-Isolation

No one likes to be bored, but it’s almost inevitable during this time of social distancing and self-quaratine. John D. Eastwood, coauthor of Out of My Skull: The Psychology of Boredom, explains some things that we know about boredom, how to address it—and even what we can gain from it. We have been here before. During the SARS outbreak of 2003, upwards of 23,000 people in the Greater Toronto Area were quarantined. House

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library ( extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.