"The Complete Poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester" by Earl of Rochester

The Complete Poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester Earl of Rochester, David M. Vieth

Publication date:
10 Nov 2002
Yale University Press
336 pages: 197 x 127mm
Sales territories:

John Wilmot, the notorious Earl of Rochester, was the darling of the polished, profligate court of Charles II. One of the finest poets of the Restoration, patron to important playwrights, model for countless witty young rakes in Restoration comedies, he lived a full but short life, dying in 1680 (with a dramatic deathbed renunciation of his atheism) at the age of thirty-three. This edition of Rochester’s poetry, brilliantly annotated and introduced by David M. Vieth, has been a classic work for decades.

David M. Vieth was professor of English at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

??Bawdy in thought, precise in words.? Rochester?s description of the court prostitute in the poem ?On Mistress Willis? might equally describe himself. The earl?s mind is never far from ?love?s theatre,? as he calls bed. His love poems are tender, explicit, and funny. . . . If this guy was living today, I?d be camping out at the gates to his castle.??Kathleen Ferguson, Irish Times

"This edition attempts to assemble every scrap of the non-dramatic verse on which his fame as a poet chiefly rests. It should be valuable to students in university courses in Restoration and eighteenth-century English literature, specialists in the period who lack a reliable text for quotation from  Rochester's poems, and perhaps a wider audience who have less professional interests. . . . There is a very useful list of Rochester studies 1925-1967, a research tool unavailable elsewhere."?Times Higher Education Supplement

"Impressive. . . . Here for the first time we have a complete and uncensored text of Rochester's poetry."?Review of English Studies

"[Rochester was] surely the most obscene among the truly notable poets in our language. Beyond the four-letter words which stud these pages, however, there is a strong literary interest. Rochester was a key figure in the transition from the Restoration style to that of neoclassicism, and this literary role, combined with a short life irreverent and (particularly in his later years) bitter almost to the point of nihilism, gives him a stature something like that of a 17th-century Rimbaud."?Washington Post Book World