Comus is a masque in honour of chastity, written by John Milton. It was first presented on Michaelmas, 1634, before John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater, at Ludlow Castle in celebration of the Earl's new post as Lord President of Wales.
Milton is best known for Paradise Lost, widely regarded as the greatest epic poem in English. Together with Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes, it confirms Milton’s reputation as one of the greatest English poets. In his prose works Milton advocated the abolition of the Church of England and the execution of Charles I. From the beginning of the English Civil Wars in 1642 to long after the restoration of Charles II as king in 1660, he espoused in all his works a political philosophy that opposed tyranny and state-sanctioned religion. His influence extended not only through the civil wars and interregnum but also to the American and French revolutions. In his works on theology, he valued liberty of conscience, the paramount importance of Scripture as a guide in matters of faith, and religious toleration toward dissidents. As a civil servant, Milton became the voice of the English Commonwealth after 1649 through his handling of its international correspondence and his defense of the government against polemical attacks from abroad.
Milton’s paternal grandfather, Richard, was a staunch Roman Catholic who expelled his son John, the poet’s father, from the family home in Oxfordshire for reading an English (i.e., Protestant) Bible. Banished and disinherited, Milton’s father established in London a business as a scrivener, preparing documents for legal transactions. He was also a moneylender, and he negotiated with creditors to arrange for loans on behalf of his clients. He and his wife, Sara Jeffrey, whose father was a merchant tailor, had three children who survived their early years: Anne, the oldest, followed by John and Christopher. Though Christopher became a lawyer, a Royalist, and perhaps a Roman Catholic, he maintained throughout his life a cordial relationship with his older brother. After the Stuart monarchy was restored in 1660, Christopher, among others, may have interceded to prevent the execution of his brother.
The elder John Milton, who fostered cultural interests as a musician and composer, enrolled his son John at St. Paul’s School, probably in 1620, and employed tutors to supplement his son’s formal education. Milton was privately tutored by Thomas Young, a Scottish Presbyterian who may have influenced his gifted student in religion and politics while they maintained contact across subsequent decades. At St. Paul’s Milton befriended Charles Diodati, a fellow student who would become his confidant through young adulthood. During his early years, Milton may have heard sermons by the poet John Donne, dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was within view of his school. Educated in Latin and Greek there, Milton in due course acquired proficiency in other languages, especially Italian, in which he composed some sonnets and which he spoke as proficiently as a native Italian, according to the testimony of Florentines whom he befriended during his travel abroad in 1638–39.
Winner of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts & Letters Award and the Cuffer Prize for Fiction
Miscreations, the second collection by Grant Loveys, mulls over the metaphorical concept of miscreation — how people, objects, and relationships are imperfectly designed by their various creators — through the use of direct, visceral language, and frank, sometimes shocking, imagery.
Unconcerned with aesthetic imperfections, Miscreations focuses instead on how people and situations can be created from unstable, often opposing, elements and examines how these people and situations manage to survive. This is poetry that looks beyond a misprinted shirt and deep into the person wearing it . . . beyond empty memes and Instagram platitudes and into the complicated, flawed and searching human readers who navigate a world that is often at odds with itself.
From a sequence, "The Countries Surrounding the Garden of Eden":Gihon, that compasseth the whole landAt the first frost we found our sheep with strangled hearts, lying on their backs in the frozen clover, their eyes wide open as if they were surprised by a constellation of drought or endless winter. The wolves walked into the snow, like men who have given up living without love; cows would no longer let go of their calves, hiding them deep in the birch groves. Everywhere the roads gave off their wild animal cries, running toward the edge of what we had thought was the world. And the names of things as we knew them would no longer bring them to us.
Lightning Shades traverses the mysteries of existence, from the ambiguities that lie within our inner lives, to the liminal spaces we occupy throughout life and death, sleeping and waking, growth and decay, and all the paradoxes that abound within those realms. Jessica Raschke's poetry holds us tenderly as it explores how we are haunted and haunting. With beauty and grace, it reminds us to pay attention to our lives, loves and losses at every turn.
Winner of the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry
In 2010, Catherine Owen’s 29-year-old spouse died of a drug addiction. A year later, she relocated to an apartment by the Fraser River in Vancouver, B.C. As she moved beyond the initial shock, the river became her focus: a natural, damaged space that both intensifies emotion and symbolizes healing. In a sequence of aubades, or dawn poems, Owen records the practice of walking by or watching the river every morning, a routine that helps her engage in the tough work of mourning. Riven (a word that echoes river and means rift) is an homage to both a man and an ecosystem threatened by the presence of toxins and neglect. Yet, it is also a song to the beauty of nature and memory, concluding in a tribute to Louise Cotnoir’s long poem The Islands with a piece on imagined rivers. While Designated Mourner honors grief, Riven focuses on modes of survival and transformation through looking outward, and beyond.
A celebrated French bestseller, this novel in verse that captures the mundane and the beautiful, the blood and sweat, of working on the factory floor in the processing plants and abattoirs of Brittany.
Unable to find work in his field, Joseph Ponthus enlists with a temp agency and starts to pick up casual shifts in the fish processing plants and abattoirs of Brittany. Day after day he records with infinite precision the nature of work on the production line: the noise, the weariness, the dreams stolen by the repetitive nature of exhausting rituals and physical suffering. But he finds solace in a life previously lived.
Shelling prawns, he dreams of Alexandre Dumas. Pushing cattle carcasses, he recalls Apollinaire. And, in the grace of the blank spaces created by his insistent return to a new line of text – mirroring his continued return to the production line – we discover the woman he loves, the happiness of a Sunday, Pok Pok the dog, the smell of the sea.
In this celebrated French bestseller, translated by Stephanie Smee, Ponthus captures the mundane, the beautiful and the strange, writing with an elegance and humour that sit in poignant contrast with the blood and sweat of the factory floor. On the Line is a poet's ode to manual labour, and to the human spirit that makes it bearable.
Praise for On the Line:
'Poetic and political, lyrical and realistic, Joseph Ponthus' spirited elegy is at once surprising, captivating and affecting' Télérama
'It is not every day that one witnesses the birth of a writer' France 5 La Grande Librairie
'A work that is powerful, clever, benevolent, optimistic even. Essential reading' Causette
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