'The Curfew tolls the knell of parting day…’
Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard has been loved and admired throughout the centuries. First circulated to a select group of friends, it was rushed to official publication in 1751 in order to avoid pirated copies being sold without the young poet’s permission. Praised by Samuel Johnson, reprinted over and over again in Gray’s lifetime and recited by generations of school children, it is one of the most famous poems in the English language.
This collector's edition reproduces the exquisite wood engravings made by Agnes Miller Parker in 1938. Parker visited the churchyard at St Giles, Stoke Poges, where the poem is set, in order to make her sketches, and all thirty-two stanzas of the poem are accompanied by detailed full-page illustrations. Commemorating the 250th anniversary of the poet’s death, this edition will not only bring new readers to the Elegy but will also appeal to those already familiar with its riches.
Thomas Gray (1716–1771) is best known for Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Born in London, he spent much of his adult life in Cambridge, eventually becoming Professor of Modern History there. He is buried in the churchyard of St Giles, Stoke Poges, the setting for his poem.
With illustrations by Agnes Miller Parker (1895–1980) was one of the greatest British wood engraving artists of the twentieth century. Parker was influenced by the art of Wyndham Lewis and the Cubist and Vorticist movements which flourished in the period between the wars.
Introduction by Carol Rumens’s most recent poetry collections are The Mixed Urn (Sheep Meadow Press, USA, 2019) and Bezdelki: Small Things (the Emma Press, UK) which won the Michael Marks Award for Best Pamphlet in 2018
- 88 pages, 210 x 148 mm
- 33 b&w illustrations
- ISBN: 9781851245772
- Publication October 2021