This major biography of Thomas Gray (1716-1771), the first in nearly half a century, expands our knowledge of the life of the English poet and our understanding of his personality and influential body of works. Robert L. Mack incorporates recent-and often radically revisionary-scholarship on Gray, drawing on developments in eighteenth-century studies and gender studies, as well as on extensive original archival research into the life of the poet and his family. The result is an eloquent and enlightening book, sure to be the definitive biography of this great poet, a forefather of the Romantic Movement.The book provides important new information on Gray's family and background and closely examines the domestic environment of his formative years. By investigating how his father's abuse affected the poet, Mack casts new light on Gray's personality-and on the way that personality consistently and invariably informed his writing. The author applies a revised understanding of the psychological and sexual tensions in Gray's life to a close reading of his poetry and correspondence and finds a homoerotic desire lying just beneath the surface of almost all of Gray's important writings, including his "Sonnet" on the death of Richard West, the "Eton Ode," and his masterpiece, "Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard."
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