Books by Stanley Plumly

ELEGY LANDSCAPES by Stanley Plumly
Released: Aug. 21, 2018

"A polyphonic, scholarly study of two of art history's most important figures."
A finely curated exploration of the progressive landscape paintings of John Constable (1776-1837) and J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 20, 2014

"Eloquent at times and rambling at others, this colorful historical narrative will be of interest to academics of the Romantic era, but the disorienting chronology and critical jargon may deter some general readers."
A re-creation of a famous 1817 dinner party hosted by painter Benjamin Haydon for his friends John Keats, William Wordsworth and Charles Lamb serves as a way of exploring the lives, artistic sentiments and worldviews of some of the most influential literary figures of England's Romantic period. Read full book review >
POSTHUMOUS KEATS by Stanley Plumly
Released: May 1, 2008

"A work animated by deep affection and informed by sturdy scholarship."
A gentle, concentric chronology of the English poet's life, pausing occasionally for close—sometimes too close—discussions of poems and individual lines. Read full book review >
Released: June 3, 2000

"One could easily wish this collection featured more examples of Plumly's powerful prose and fewer of his often unremarkable pastorals—which quickly begin to blur together. But the collection as a whole is worthwhile."
Plumly (English/Univ. of Maryland) has published six prior volumes. Here he includes new as well as previously published work, collected in reverse chronological order and covering the span of three decades. The poems proceed diminuendo rather than crescendo from his matured style to his origins, and the effect is cumulative (much like the numerous snowfalls he describes) rather than astonishing. Seldom does anything appear in full light. Plumly gains our attention slowly and subtly, preferring patient layering to the drama of sharp relief (as when he portrays his gravely ill parents with "skeletal skin so ghostly it seemed they'd already gone"). Plumly's landscapes, for all their underpinnings in concrete detail, seem at times like sets in a Fellini movie: softly falling snow, birds, suicides, and blossoming red roses, with flashes of insight that burn the retinas and leave an afterimage even more surreal. Though only slightly less lyrical than poems from the same period, there are several short prose passages that create as strong an impression of time and place as anything in literature. Particularly poignant are Plumly's childhood recollections of his father's lifelong drinking career—precisely because Plumly's father appears as a decent man. He is but one of the recurring characters "cloistered in the space of their own wounding." Read full book review >